Festival film “The Tenor: Lirico Spinto ” represents a potentially significant venture into movie production by Korean industry veteran T.J. Chung and his More In Group.
The film is a $7 million Korean-Japanese venture based on a real story about an opera singer who loses his voice after surgery. It is directed by Kim Sang-man and is the first film in several years for actor Yoo Ji-tae (“Oldboy,” “Midnight FM”).
Production credits go to South Korea’s More In Group, Voice Factory and Social Capital Production, Japan’s Basara Pictures and Serbia’s Victorija Film.
Over the past 30 years, Chung Tae-jin has been a force in importing Hong Kong and Taiwanese films into South Korea and was previously a close associate of both Korean director Shin Sang-ok and Hong Kong’s Wong Kar Wai.
He raised finance for “The Tenor” from Japan, and Japanese broadcaster BS-TBS will make its debut venture in theatrical releasing on Oct. 11.
No Korean distribution is set, but Chung has $2 million committed to a November release on some 300-500 screens and is talking to distribution partners. “We have really been trying to do something that has international appeal and has creative credibility, not just make a domestic (Korean) film,” Chung said. “That’s why ‘Tenor’ is 65% in English, 25% in Japanese and 10% in Korean.”
More In is handling international sales inhouse and will shop the movie in Busan and the AFM in Santa Monica. “Through investments, production and co-production we aim to be involved in maybe three films per year,” said Chung.