Asian co-prod'ns reach out for teamwork

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BUSAN, South Korea -- Korean, Chinese and Hong Kong film companies are increasingly forming co-productions, but they will need to integrate further if these projects are to run smoothly in the future.

"I don't like it when we talk about the 'Hong Kong team' and the 'Korea team' and so forth," said Daniel Yu, who produced the Chinese hit "Crazy Stone." "We are one team. We need to work together."

Korean director Kim Sung-su ("Musa") led a discussion late Monday with Terence Chang, Yi Chi-yun and Daniel Yu titled Multiple Collaborations and Efficient Coproduction System in China, held at the Asian Film Market.

Chang echoed Yu's sentiments. "One thing that really bothers me is boundaries," he said. " 'We're Chinese, and you're from Hong Kong.' It is hard to get crews together as a team."

Said Yi Chi-yun, a special effects producer: "Between Korea and China, we have different definitions of job roles. For 'Red Cliff,' because it was so large, assertive communications was critical. But you can have different collaborative models on each movie."

Kim pointed out that while on smaller films the crew tends to bond naturally, larger films need a more systematic approach. "Communicating is not a matter of interpreters," he said. "We need to know how the others work, you need to compromise and understand and listen."

Yu also noted that while co-productions are attractive to many filmmakers who hunger for access to China, it takes more than working together to succeed in the China market. "Many want co-productions for access to the China market, but they forget about making those films for the China market," he said. "You need to remember the China market, and people's interests there."

"I always wanted to make a comedy in China and approached many Hong Kong directors, but I found that, although we all are Chinese, Hong Kong is not China," Yu said.

At another market event earlier in the day, Endgame Entertainment talked about their expansion into the Asian market. "Asia is driving global boxoffice and we think there is tremendous opportunity for co-productions," vp business development Christopher Chen said. "China is the big carrot, of course, because it is expanding so much, whereas Korea and Japan are more mature markets. But we would not limit ourselves from any project that was right for us."
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