LJ Film, the productionhouse behind Sundance and Forum title This Charming Girl, is positioningitself as the gateway between the Korean and international production sectors.
Korean films have undergonea massive turnaround in the last five years, achieving a more than 50% share oftheir local market and seeing exports rise exponentially. But, with theexception of a handful of Asian co-productions, the production sector has beenhermetically separated from the outside world.
LJ used Berlin's EFM tounveil a slate of four projects in advanced stages of preparation that are tobe co-financed by Korean major CJ Entertainment.
LJ CEO Lee Seung-jae, said:"the initial five years of LJ were all about investment, both in people andprojects. Having put down these roots, we are now ready to branch out andfulfil our potential as an international production hub."
The company's creditsalready include Kim Ki-duk's Spring Summer Fall Winter' And Spring,co-produced with Karl Baumgartner's Pandora Film and which went on to become asuccess in the US. Handled by Sony Pictures Classics, Spring grossed $2.4m in afour month run.
Smells Like Butter is the story of a Korean-American woman who goes toKorea to find a husband and is unprepared for the culture clash she encounters.Directed by first-timer Grace Lee and starring Sandra Oh, it will beco-produced with Los Angeles based LeeLee Films and with Wim Wenders taking anexecutive producer credit. Some 80% of the dialogue will be in English.
Charming Girl director Lee Yoon-ki will next direct Love Talk,a drama about the lives of Korean immigrants in Los Angeles. The project, whichalso uses English and Korean dialogue, will also feature in the forthcoming HAFco-production market.
Love House is a drama about a gangster who has lost his tastefor violence is shipped to Los Angeles to take over an internet porn site. Itis to be directed by London Film School-trained Kim Pan-su. In The Name OfLove, about a down-and-out cop and the wife of a top politician, is to bedirected by Butterfly director Moon Seung-wook.
All four are budgeted in the$1.5m-$3m range and will start production between May and July. "LJ'sco-production strategy is less about finding finance than working with theright partners for international production and marketing," said Lee.