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Local Movie to Open Throughout Asia

2004/05/11 Source

By Kim Tae-jong
Staff Reporter
Given the popularity of South Korean films throughout Asia in recent years, a local film production company will try for a marketing strategy that aims for an international audience from the very beginning.

The movie "Nae Yojachingu-rul Sogaehapnida (Windstruck)" is expected to be simultaneously premiered on June 4 not only here in South Korea but also in Hong Kong and China. It is the first time for a local movie to open abroad before being proven domestically.

"We're trying to show our movie in Asian countries on the same day," Choi Soo-young, producer of "Windstruck" said, "to prevent the circulation of pirated movie files.

"And the other main reason is that the movie was co-produced by a Hong Kong production company," she added.

According to Choi, when they exported such popular movies as " My Sassy Girl" and "The Classic" in Asian countries, even though the movies were very successful, they had financial damages due to people downloading the movies illegally on the Internet.

Also for the first time in Korean movie history, all the production costs of the movie were provided by foreign investors. Arranged by the Hong Kong-based production and distribution company EDKO Film Ltd., which recently began distributing Korean films including "My Sassy Girl" and "The Classic" in Hong Kong and China, American banks invested money in "Windstruck" for the Korean production company, iFilm Co., Ltd.

"Korea has produced well-made films worth sharing with international audiences," Bill Kong, the producer of EDKO Film Ltd, said in a press conference in Seoul last year. "The combination of a well written screenplay, talented director and popular actors is the main reason we decided to co-produce the movie," explained the producer well known for the movie "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon."

Although it still might be viewed as a gamble, the producer seems to have an optimistic view on the new marketing strategy. "The movie has all the elements which Asian people find interesting and attractive such as a romance story and popular actors," she said.

Directed by kwak Jae-Yong and also starring Jun Ji-hyun and Jang Hyuk, the movie is about a love story between a young policewoman and a high school teacher. Kwak and Jun worked together in the 2000 Romantic Comedy blockbuster "My Sassy Girl," which is regarded as one of the most successful local movies exported in Asian cinema.

Jun was catapulted into celebrity status throughout Asia thanks to "My Sassy Girl," in which she plays a quirky but irrepressible college student. Kwak has also started gaining fame as a Romantic Comedy director, which led him to release his second successful romance film "The Classic" in Asian markets.

"It's not going to be `My Sassy Girl 2' or something like that although the movie was made by the same director and actress," said Choi. "We didn't just depend on their fame or the popularity of the previous movie; we will focus on increasing their potential through a totally different movie."

Choi believes that although it aims to be played for international fans and was co-produced by a Hong Kong production company, the movie will still be Korean, portraying the love of two Koreans and containing Korean culture. The movie first has to satisfy local fans and gain support from them in order to be successful in an international market.

She added that they tried to make a film that local fans will find interesting and enjoyable, and fortunately the EDCO production never told them what to add or omit during filming.

"But when it comes to marketing, we're trying to find the best way to promote our movie for moviegoers in each nation. We had different PR firms in each nation and they have their own marketing strategies," said Choi.

She hopes that the movie will be as successful as "My Sassy Girl" and this new marketing strategy could be a good chance to show Korea's confidence in local films to international markets.

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