Showbox Mediaplex affiliate Motion 101 has announced its first production will be The Fist (working title) by Park Kwang-hyun, the director of 2005 hit Welcome To Dongmakgol.

Taesung Jeong, former COO at the major distributor Showbox, moved to Mediaplex's production shingle as of Aug 1 to focus on the upstart business and is overseeing The Fist himself.

Tentatively budgeted at 'over $10m', the film takes place in a futuristic city with robots and flying cars where slums are about to be demolished to make way for an extensive 'F4 Battle' arena. A high school fighter who competes in the Battles finds himself conflicted after making friends with the inhabitants of the slums.

Jeong says the film could be the biggest sci-fi genre film in Korea. 'You can expect a new style of sci-fi action and drama,' says Jeong. 'We have concept designers, computer graphics and leading game designers working on the martial arts direction, and the fight scenes are going to be tracked out in animated sequences in pre-production.'

The production also has on board automobile designers from leading car manufacturer Hyundai/Kia, and art and costume designers from The Host.

When investing and distributing at Showbox, Jeong chose to executive produce or produce five of the top 10 hits of all time in Korea - The Host, Taegukgi (aka Brotherhood), D-War, Welcome To Dongmakgol and 200 Pound Beauty.

In pre-production, most of these films were looked at with doubt and passed over by many other investors - in particular, Park's Welcome To Dongmakgol, which featured a fantasy story of North and South Korean soldiers befriending one another during the Korean War and fighting side by side to save a tiny village.

'Park Kwang-hyun is a director who can make this sort of film work, with humour and moving drama,' says Jeong.

Other projects in development include a Japanese manga adaptation, yet to be announced, but to be produced in Japanese; and a high-concept comedy about a mother who has to go back to school and earn her diploma before her son's in-laws find out she was a drop-out. The film touches upon recent diploma-forging scandals in Korea, and is close to locking a top cast.

The company plans to produce three to five films a year, with a focused interest in international co-productions. 'We're also looking into English-language co-productions with the US, and all in all we'll be busy in Pusan during the Market,' says Jeong.