Cannes Critics' Prize Winner 'Burning,' Starring Steven Yeun, Sells to China, U.K., Australia

Cannes - IN COMPETITION – FEATURE FILMS - Burning Still 2 - Publicity -H 2018
Courtesy of Cannes Film Festival

The film by acclaimed South Korean art house director Lee Chang-dong also sold to France, Spain and Japan, among other territories.

South Korean film Burning, starring Steven Yeun, has sold to multiple territories, including the U.K., Australia and China, following its critically acclaimed premiere at the Cannes Film Festival where it won the FIPRESCI International Critics’ Prize.

The unconventional thriller from Lee Chang-dong, starring the Walking Dead actor, sold to Time-in-Portrait Entertainment in China, Thunderbird Releasing for the U.K. and Palace Films in Australia and New Zealand.

It has also sold to France (Diaphana Distribution), Japan (Twin), Benelux (Imagine Film Distribution), Denmark (Camera Film), Greece (Seven Films), Hong Kong and Macau (Edko Films), Norway (Arthaus), Philippines (Viva Communications), Russia and CIS countries (Provzgylyad), Singapore, Malaysia and Brunei (Clover Films), Taiwan (Hualien Media International), Poland (Aurora Films), Romania (Voodoo Films), Spain (Vertigo Films), Sweden (Folkets Bio) and Turkey (Bir Film).

Its international sales agent, Seoul-based Finecut, said it expects to seal more deals for North America and Latin America, including Brazil, Argentina and Mexico.

The film’s Chinese distributor, Sally Li at Time-in-Portrait Entertainment, said that "the film is very powerful, with great directing and great acting."

Based on the Japanese short story Barn Burning, the film stars popular Korean actor Yoo Ah-in as a poor, aspiring novelist living in a tiny rural town near the North Korean border. He runs into a young woman (newcomer Jeon Jong-seo) who claims to be his childhood friend. He soon develops romantic feelings for her. But he is thrown into the depths of obsession and longing when a suave, affluent man (Yeun) enters the picture. 

"Intelligence and subtle storytelling smarts are in evidence throughout Burning, which gratifyingly pays off the viewer’s investment of time," THR said in its review of the movie. "The performances of the three principals are first-rate."

Lee’s last two films, Secret Sunshine and Poetry, also won prizes at Cannes.