Korea-U.S. co-prod'n looks into 'Box'


BUSAN, South Korea -- The Korean-America project "The Hanji Box" is set to become the first co-production funded by the Seoul Film Commission's Film Production Support Program, the project's producers and the Commission told The Hollywood Reporter on Friday.

Producers Jane Applegate and Amy Lo said that Korean stars Kim Yun-jin ("Lost") and Baek Yoon-shik ("Tazza: God of Gamblers") are set to join Amy Irving in what they called a "reverse adoption" story.

Written and directed by Nora Jacobson, "Hanji Box" is the story of a heartbroken painter (Irving) who journeys to Korea in an attempt to reconnect with her estranged Korean-adoptee daughter. While in Korea, she hires an interpreter (Kim) and falls in love with a local artist (Baek).

In addition, the film featured production design by one of Korea's most in-demand talents, Cho Keun-hyun ("A Tale of Two Sisters").

Earlier this year, the Seoul Film Commission announced the Film Production Support Program, which offers grants of up to 25% of the production budget (to a maximum of $100,000) on foreign films shot in Seoul.

Final budget for the project has not been finalized, but Lo said it was less than $5 million.

Producers are attending the Pusan International Film Festival in their hunt for a local partner, and they said that several Korean companies were interested, though they had no deal to announce yet.

The five-week shoot on "Hanji Box" is set to begin in April, and Jacobson said that "over 80%" of the film would be shot in Korea and that she intended to use an all-Korean crew -- though with one major exception.

"They actually encouraged me to use an American DP," Jacobson said. Not because of quality but because "they seemed really interested in how an American sees Korea."