Tokyo fest talks exports, in form of remakes

'Tekken' game, 'Pure Soul' journey among panel's topics

TOKYO -- The business of remaking Asian films into Hollywood hits drew a standing-room-only crowd Tuesday at a Tokyo International Film Festival panel.

The unusual journey of Motoko Kimura's TV drama "Pure Soul" -- now being turned into "A Moment to Remember" at Lionsgate -- was the focus of the first half.

Kimura, who wrote the script and produced the drama while working at Yomiuri TV, retained the rights through Digital Hollywood Entertainment Corp. -- where she's a vp -- then sold them to South Korea's SidusFNH Corp.

Once in Korea, "Soul" was adapted by seminar panelist Sungjai Tcha into a feature called "The Eraser in My Mind," which went on to become a hit in both Korea and Japan, as well as the basis for the U.S. remake.

Moderator Tetsu Fujimura, founder of GAGA Communications, took the property to Hollywood through his relationship with panelist Mark Amin, a vp at Lionsgate.

The panel described the laborious legal processes required to make the project a reality.

"The basic foundations of contracts are very different in Japan and the U.S., and this is a challenge for any remake," Kimura said. "Then there was the added issue of the Korean version and the complications of another country's legal system."

Later in the day, a panel comprising MPCA CEO Brad Krevoy, Fox Atomic vp Zak Kadison, Convergence Entertainment chief Tim Kwok and Crystal Sky's Stephen Paul talked about the process of finding Asian material and scoring a green light.

Between them, the panelists have remade or adapted six Korean or Japanese films, manga and video games.

"I am all about branded entertainment," said Paul, who is producing the live-action version of "Tekken," the fighting video game franchise that has sold more than 30 million copies. "I love the idea that something already has a big audience."

"The movie came about through a long friendship with Mr. Nakamura, the founder of Namco-Bandai," Paul told The Hollywood Reporter, referring to the game's maker. "This deal has been 20 years in the making, and there'll be some big tie-ins with the new game."

"Tekken 6" is due next year and will appear for the first time on a non-Sony game console, the Xbox 360.