If the modern low-budget international indie ever needed a poster child, “Seoul Searching” is it.
An American-Korean-Chinese co-production, the film shot in Korea, tapping the Korean Film Council’s location incentive. L.A.-based firms Bowery Hills Entertainment and Mondo Paradiso Films produced it. China’s Wonder Vision funded it.
The English-language, ’80s-set youth dramedy did much of its casting via YouTube, and ended up with actors of mixed ethnicities: Korean, Japanese, Korean-American, Korean-African American, Chinese-American, British-Korean, Spanish-Korean, German-Korean and Canadian Korean.
The crew was equally diverse. Irish-American d.p. Daniel Katz worked with Japanese-American costume designer Shirley Kurata and Korean editor Steve Choe (“Snowpiercer”). Korean-American Benson Lee wrote, produced and directed.
The budget for “Seoul Searching” was $2.2 million, says producer Andrea Chung — a Korean-American. The incentive will return at least $270,000, she adds. Getting 10% back “was very appealing for our investors. Without it, they wouldn’t have committed.”
The film is in post at Korea’s C47 facility. Producers are hoping for a Sundance debut that will put “Seoul Searching” before the eyes of more distributors — and diversify its prospects.