BERLIN -- Suh Young-joo has quit Cineclick Asia, formerly Korea's leading indie sales agent, and will regain her independence with new outfit Fine Cut.
Suh was instrumental in discovering and promoting many of the talents, including "Oldboy" helmer Park Chan-wook, Kim Jee-woon and Kim Ki-duk, whose creativity drove Korean cinema to the cutting-edge global position it currently enjoys.
Her new shingle's Berlin slate is bursting with 17 titles, most in post-production, including a handful with serious Cannes potential. These include Siddiq Barmak's "The Opium War," Pablo Trappero's "Lion's Den," festival fave Zhang Lu's "Iri" and stylish actioner "The Chaser."
New company sets out to be sales agent, film investor and will dabble in highly selective acquisitions for the Korean theatrical market. It aims to represent 10 completed films per year.
Suh remains a consultant to Cineclick in the near term and will assist Cineclick's remaining staff at Berlin's European Film Market.
Launch of Fine Cut follows less than a year after Suh sold Cineclick, which she founded six years earlier, to stockmarket-listed mini conglom Fantom Entertainment (Variety.com, March 20, 2007).
That sale was intended to provide Suh with coin to invest in a slate of international indie titles that would counterbalance Cineclick's pic supply from Korea. Arrangement quickly went sour when Fantom's share price plunged and financing for project investment through Cineclick dried up.
"I now aim to discover a new chance of working with various directors, producers and industry people all around the world," Suh said. "That was the driving force behind Cineclick Asia for years, and I want to regain my original motivation."
New company starts life with a six-title output deal with Vantage Holdings, currently Korea's most active movie investor; a two-picture deal with Barunson; as well as a string of single-picture deals with other Korean producers.
New titles on offer include "My Dear Enemy," a drama starring Cannes actress prizewinner Jeon Do-yeon; North-South drama "The Crossing," helmed by Kim Tae-Kyun; and "One Day of Ibrahim," a Kenyan-set road movie by Hong Kong helmer Pang Ho-cheung. Fine Cut also has "Room of Dreams," a sci-fi horror feature that was pitched at last month's CineMart in Rotterdam and has Asian superstars Rinko Kikuchi and Tadanobu Asano in advanced negotiations to star.
Suh has been able to transfer certain titles from Cineclick to Fine Cut, principally those in which she has been an investor, but may lose control of others. These include "The Good, the Bad and the Weird," Kim Jee-woon's Korean Western, which is the highest-profile Korean film of 2008. Pic, which lensed in China, has exceeded its budget. Producer Barunson is seeking additional financing and has brought in CJ Entertainment, but long-term representation of international rights is currently undetermined. Fine Cut is also managing Cineclick's library in the short term.