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Korea at American Film Market

2006/11/13 Source

A record total of 85 Korean films were shown at this month's American Film Market (AFM), which ranks along side Cannes as one of the largest of its kind in the world. Most South Korean films this year were entered in AFM in an effort to find foreign buyers.

Among them were many local hits including Bong Joon-ho's monster-movie "The Host" and Lee Joon-ik's human drama "Radio Star", as well as commercially underrated films such as Hong Sang-soo's 'Woman on the Beach' and Kim Ki-duk's "Time".

Many in LA spoke highly of the Korean film industry, which how has a production rate of about 100 features annually, and whose overseas sales topped US$76 million last year, up from just US$7 million in 2000.

"It is now a strong national cinema and can be talked about in the same breath as, for example, French, Spanish or Japanese cinema", Tony Safford, senior vice president of acquisitions for 20th Century Fox, was quoted as saying.

Some deals already confirmed at the festival include The Weinstein Company's acquisition of 'No Mercy for the Rude', a black-comedy-thriller about a mute hit-man, by debut director Park Cheol-hee. The film was sold by Korean investment and sales company The Core Studio. Meanwhile, Universal won a tough battle for the remake rights to The Host, which was negotiated through Cineclick Asia. The Host will be released in North America through Magnolia Pictures in February of 2007.

Nigel D'Sa (KOFIC)

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