Barunson looks abroad as film slate ramps up

Kim tapped to handle int'l aspects

International production specialist Lewis Kim has moved to upstart film production house Barunson Co., where he will be responsible for managing international pro-jects, promoting international co-productions and managing the company's directors abroad.

Kim was the former head of international business at the production house Chungeorahm, where he was responsible for all the international aspects of Bong Joon-ho's monster film "The Host," the most successful film in Korean history. "The Host" features effects work from a number of foreign companies, including San Francisco's the Orphanage, New Zealand's WETA Workshop and John Cox's Creature Workshop.

"My role will be very similar as on 'The Host,' dealing with international financing, line production and the like," Kim said. "Mr. Choi Jae-won (Barunson's film division head) shares the same vision as me and wants to be on the front line of pan-Asian productions. He is very interested in overseas markets and wants to combine with successful producers abroad to make bigger and better films."

The company, which is in talks with a major Japanese manga publisher and is looking for other original sources for new ideas, has signed up several high-profile directors. It is working on the next film by Kim Jee-woon ("A Bittersweet Life"), an "oriental western" called "The Good, the Bad and the Weird" to star Song Gang-ho and begin filming next year. Another Barunson project is the Yim Pil-sung horror movie "Hansel and Gretel," scheduled for release next year.

Barunson also holds the rights to invest in two movies by Bong Joon-ho, though Bong is still deciding what project he wants to make next — a small family drama for Barunson or a big-budget science-fiction title for Moho Film based on the French comic book "La Transperceneige."

Choi Jae-won said the company plans to make three films next year and then five to seven movies a year thereafter. "I want our company to be a good production company for the Korean and Asian market, supporting top directors like Kim Jee-woon and Bong Joon-ho as well as picking up promising rookie directors," Choi said.

Cineclick Asia is handling the company's overseas sales.