‘Snowpiercer,’ ‘Adoption,’ ‘Leafie,’ ‘Chair:’ Korea, France Build Co-Production Relations

Movies financing, countries’ varying work habits analyzed at Paris Images Cinema

PARIS — Paris Images Cinema/Industrie du Reve featured a round table on animation co-production, which included a screening of Jesus Castro’s documentary “Snowpiercer: From the Blank Page to the Black Screen,” about the making of the $40 million South Korean/French science fiction pic “Snowpiercer,” directed by Bong Joon-ho and written by Bong and Kelly Masterson, based on the French graphic novel “Le Transperceneige” by Jacques Lob and Jean-Marc Rochette.

Jesus Castro explained how the film became a cultural phenomenon in South Korea. The film clocked up 650,000 admissions — about  $4.6 million — in France and had a limited theatrical release in the U.S. after discussions about the final cut between Bong and the Weinstein Company, with the film finally released on VOD via TWC’s Radar channel, earning $2 million in the first week.

In South Korea, the film recorded over 10 million admissions. Castro said that the working rhythm on “Snowpiercer” was intense, with Bong taking only one day off during the three-month production period. Bong storyboarded every shot and had a very fast shooting style, often recording only one or two takes from each set-up and always using a single camera. Bong also had an editor working while they were shooting who would show the edited footage to cast and crew during production.

Laurent Boileau then talked about his animated documentary, co-directed with Jung, “Approved for Adoption,” based on Jung’s autobiographical graphic novel “Skin Color: Honey,” about his adoption as a child by Belgian parents. The film uses animation to recount Jung’s childhood and then switches to live action to show Jung returning to South Korea, which is both his homeland and yet an alien world.

The film was a Franco-Belgian co-production, with about 30% of the funding coming from Belgium. The remainder was provided by France 3 Cinema, France 3 Television and six French regions.

Boileau explained that signing the contract for the film in South Korea was an adventure, because in France all the contractual details are ironed out before signing, whereas in South Korea he was told that the contract is signed first and then the details are agreed to later. However, he said he ended up following this procedure and everything went smoothly.

South Korean producer Lee Eun — who has produced 36 films, including Park Chan Wook’s “Joint Security Area” — talked about the 2011 animation feature “Leafie, A Hen Into the Wild,” which clocked up over 2.2 million admissions in South Korea — a record for a local animation pic. Lee Eun explained that the film was financed through private investment and needed 1.3 million admissions in order to break even. He is now developing a second animation feature based on a story about a bear that escapes from a zoo, also aimed at a family audience.

At the other end of the production spectrum, Ron Dyens screened the 2014 animation short “Man on the Chair,” by South Korean director Dahee Jeong, who graduated with a master’s degree in animation from the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs in Paris.

Dyens explained that he gave €2,000 ($2,180) to Dahee in order to make the short, having applied the same model to 12 films from other new animation graduates. Under this deal the graduates produce a low-cost animation short but receive 50% of any distribution revenues. “Chair,” screened in Directors’ Fortnight at Cannes in 2014, won the Cristal Award for best short at Annecy. Canal Plus then bought the film and has pre-bought Dahee’s next animation project, which Dyens says has a more comfortable budget.

Paris Images Cinema/Industrie du Reve is the fourth event in the Paris Images Trade Show (Jan 28. – Feb. 6).

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Participant Taps Anikah McLaren, Robert Kessel

    Participant Taps Anikah McLaren, Robert Kessel to Head Film Department

    Participant Media has named industry veterans Anikah McLaren and Robert Kessel as co-heads of the company’s film department with the titles of executive vice president. Both executives will report together to Participant CEO David Linde, who made the announcement Thursday. McLaren joins Participant having most recently served as a production executive for Fox Searchlight Pictures. [...]

  • 'The Son' Review: Bosnian Family Drama

    Sarajevo Film Review: 'The Son'

    It is a mixed blessing to be born in the aftermath of a war. On the one hand, you never have to experience the terror and suffering your parents did; on the other, you grow up with your own personal crises forever made to feel smaller by comparison. That, at least, is the frustration driving [...]

  • Constance Wu and Jennifer Lopez star

    Box Office: Jennifer Lopez 'Hustlers' Heading for $25 Million Launch

    STX Entertainment’s “Hustlers,” a comedic thriller about strip-club employees seeking revenge, is expected to earn $25 million when it opens on Sept. 13, according to early tracking. The movie — starring Jennifer Lopez, Constance Wu, Lili Reinhart, Keke Palmer, Cardi B and Lizzo — will debut alongside Warner Bros.’ “The Goldfinch.” The drama, based on [...]

  • AMC TheatresShop signs, Los Angeles, America

    AMC Theatres Lays Off 35 Corporate Staffers

    AMC Entertainment has laid off 35 corporate staffers and will not fill an additional 15 open jobs. The Kansas-based chain made the announcement Thursday as part of a previously announced “profit improvement plan” intended to achieve operating and administrative efficiencies. AMC, which operates more than 10,000 movie screens, had disclosed the plan on Aug. 8 [...]

  • Ann Sarnoff Warner Bros

    Ann Sarnoff Formally Takes Reins of Warner Bros. as CEO

    The Ann Sarnoff era at Warner Bros. has begun. Sarnoff formally took the reins as Warner Bros. chair-CEO on Thursday, two months after she was appointed to the post. Sarnoff told employees in a memo that she has been impressed by the company’s track record during the past year amid a period of upheaval for [...]

  • Take Me Somewhere Nice review

    Ena Sendijarevic on Migration, Identity and the Question of Belonging

    Bosnian filmmaker Ena Sendijarević had an auspicious debut with “Import,” a short film which world premiered in Cannes’ Directors’ Fortnight in 2016. Drawing on her own family’s personal history, the Amsterdam-based director crafted an idiosyncratic tale about a family of Bosnian refugees trying to make a new home in the Netherlands. With her feature debut, [...]

  • Portrait of a Lady on Fire

    Haugesund Prizes ‘Portrait of a Lady on Fire,’ ‘Him,’ ‘Ballon’

    HAUGESUND, Norway  —  Celine Sciamma’s intellectually dexterous, bittersweet love tale “Portrait of a Lady on Fire” has claimed another heart, taking home The Norwegian Film-Critics’ Prize at the Haugesund Film Festival’s closing night on Thursday. The festival, which runs over August 17-23, capped its 47th edition with a screening of André Løyning and Kristian Landmark’s [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content