Feng Says `Taegeukgi' Inspired Him

By Lee Hyo-won
Staff Reporter

PUSAN _ China's first ever "blockbuster" war epic "Assembly" made its world premiere at the 12th Pusan (Busan) International Film Festival (PIFF) Thursday _ and its opening here is all the more meaningful, according to director Feng Xiaogang, because it was modeled after local action flick "Taegeukgi: Brotherhood of War".

The director, producer and cast of "Assembly" gathered for a press conference at a Busan theater Thursday afternoon, just a few hours short of the movie's debut at the festival's opening ceremony.

Set in 1948 amid the bloody conflict between the Nationalists and Communists, the film harrowingly depicts the horrors of war before it finally melts into a touching human drama of redemption in its latter half.

Feng is one of the most heralded directors in China, most well known for phenomenally popular films like "Dream Factory" and establishing a novel genre called "Hesui Pian" (New Year films). "Assembly" is his first action-packed movie, a sharp departure from his hit comedies.

Feng turned to his old buddy Kang Je-gyu, director of `Taegukgi' for help, and the special effects team of "Taegukgi" whipped up the magic for the movie, being responsible for make-up, computer graphics, artistic direction and sound effects.

"I am indebted to Kang Je-gyu", Feng told reporters. "I consider `Taegukgi' as a great model for our movie. To be frank, what happened is that I told Kang I wanted to hire a Hollywood crew but was short on budget. Kang then offered to provide his Korean crew who could make a movie the Chinese people might like.

"I believe we created a phenomenal war movie that can stand up to Hollywood. I am proud to know that there are talented filmmakers in Asia", he said.

The 10 million dollar project was co-produced by China's biggest private sector film company Huayi Brothers and Korea's MK Pictures.

"`Assembly' is our seventh film with Feng Xiaogang. We decided to support him even if it was going to be flop", said Wang Zhonglei, head of Huayi Brothers. "No, I'm just joking. We launched the project with much confidence, meticulously planning its distribution and PR. Only the brave can make a miracle", he said.

As for the future outlook of cross-border film projects in the Asia region, the director said, "There are many, many filmmakers in the world. Personally, I believe that Asians are among the brightest. So if we put our heads together we can create brilliant works".
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