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Born in Seoul in 1966, Ounie LECOMTE left Korea for France at the age of 9 when a Protestant family adopted her. Her adoptive father was a minister. After studying dress design, she worked on a number of films: as an actress with Olivier Assayas (PARIS S'VEILLE) or as a costume designer, notably for Sophie Fillieres. In 1991, she returned to Korea to play the part of an abandoned girl looking for her roots there. The film (SEOUL METROPOLIS by SEO Myung-Soo) was never made, but reality caught up with fiction and she was reunited with her biological family. In 2006, she enrolled at the Femis Screenwriting Workshop where she started to write A BRAND NEW LIFE.
Feature Debut
Director's Statement
A BRAND NEW LIFE is inspired by the year I spent from 1975 to 1976 in the St. Paul orphanage in Seoul with Catholic nuns. While it is hard to play down the autobiographical side, I have no intention of making a simple reconstruction of my experiences. On the contrary, I wish to translate in the present the emotions of a little girl facing two extraordinary events: abandonment and adoption. The year in the orphanage is a period between two lives, the life before that Jinhee has to learn to leave and the life after that she has to learn to desire.

There are two tales in the screenplay: the intimate, personal tale of Jinhee (from her point of view, at a child's height) and the account of life at the orphanage (the daily routine, the adoption process and the nature of things unfolding in an inexorable manner - the seasons, for instance). The rhythm more than anything - whether these two tales clash or work together - will determine the form of the film. That will tell us what Jinhee is going through, her experiences. Those of the child that she is, of the being that she will become. The way she is altered by the events.

What I want to show is the intensity of this experience. Jinhee struggles throughout the story to keep her bonds alive. Because she fights against what is dying within her, the film's form will reveal her thirst for life.

I should have written this story in Korean, in my mother tongue. I have lost it, forgotten it. And so I have chosen French, my adopted tongue, to tell this tale, convinced that the language of film, a universal language, would "rescue me from my handicap".

Even so, I knew that I needed the eyes and ears of Koreans to nourish the story with reality and Korean voices that I am no longer attached to. That led to the encounter with LEE Changdong From an initial version in French translated into Korean, we worked on this new version together. He is now the project's producer with Laurent LAVOLE of GLORIA FILMSand LEE Jundong of NOW FILMS.
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