Korea's cinematic boom, that started in the late 1990s, hascreated a diverse group of star directors who, thanks to their reputation atthe box-office and at international festivals, now wield an enviable degree ofcreative control compared to their younger colleagues. The latter half of this year will see alarge number of these filmmakers start shooting new projects, promising anexciting line-up for the first half of 2005.

Both Park Chan-wook and Hong Sang-soo - who competed atCannes 2004 with Old Boy and Woman Is The Future Of Man respectively- intend to start production on their next projects in November. Hong's Geuk-jang-jeon,about which little has been revealed, has once again secured financing fromFrance's MK2, while also being chosen as the Korean Film Council's firstrecipient of a new $250,000 fund to support international co-productions. With the feature scheduled for delivery inearly April, it will likely once again be submitted to Cannes.

Park will supply the final episode in his "revengetrilogy," which started with SympathyFor Mr. Vengeance (2002) and Cannes Grand Prix winner Old Boy (2003). Sympathy For Lady Vengeance will featureLee Young-ae (JSA) in the story of a woman who is cruelly betrayed by herboyfriend. Local major CJ Entertainment,which handled Sympathy, willrepresent this film as part of a multiple picture deal with the director.

Meanwhile Bong Joon-ho, whose local reputation matches thatof any other director after last year's MemoriesOf Murder, will branch out with a big budget creature movie titled The Host. Set along the banks of the Han River which runs through downtownSeoul, the work promises both scenes of mass slaughter and pointed socialcriticism. Production/distributioncompany Chungeorahm, a rising force in local filmmaking, will finance andproduce, with post-production work to be carried out in New Zealand.

Other filmmakers with new work include Kim Jee-woon of A Tale Of Two Sisters fame, who openedshooting on an "action noir" in August; Jeong Jae-eun, who willfollow up her acclaimed debut Take CareOf My Cat with a story about teenagers who do inline skating; KwakKyung-taek, who will try to match the success of his record-breaking Friend with the action blockbuster Taepung (Typhoon) starring Jang Dong-gun;and Ryoo Seung-wan, who will present a gritty boxing drama featuring Old Boy star Choi Min-shik.

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