Last we heard from our sales agent Wonderphil, a company in India has purchased the rights to distribute Death Grip in India. Will it be subtitled? Will it be dubbed? Will we have to shoot a pickup of a dance number for the ending? No telling, but in any case, Death Grip will be released commercially in India. The deal finalizes in August, when they will pay and take delivery.

A company in Germany also called last week and plans to make an offer within a week or two. I understand Germany often dubs and changes the titles to action films. Jackie Chan’s Project A is known as Der Superfighter and Wheels on Meals is called Powerman. Maybe they can call this one Deathman or Eric the Killer Body. Or something equally catchy. J. J. Timbro suggested Meatstorm.

France, South Korea, and Turkey also requested a dvd, so packages went out yesterday. The future’s looking good for Death Grip.

Here are some interesting bits taken from The Funds Book from the Cannes Film Market. It outlines all the major government-provided film funds, budgets, and basic criteria. I compared Hong Kong and South Korea, not based on market share (since that would be an unfair comparison), but based on their criteria.

Check out Hong Kong first:

Hong Kong Film Development Fund
Objectives of the Funding Programme: The FDF aims to fund projects and activities which contribute towards the development of the Hong Kong film industry.
Maximum amount: 515,000 euro
Main selection criteria: Must be beneficial to the overall development of the Hong Kong film industry. Must serve the interests of the entire film industry, and not only an individual private company or a consortium of private companies and should mainly be non-profit making in nature [emphasis mine].

Anyone expecting to see the old school Hong Kong action mentality, think again.

Here’s South Korea:

South Korea – Seoul Film Commission
Objectives of the Funding Programme: To support the local film industry as well as to promote the city for international coproductions and location for the shooting of foreign films
Eligible genres: Live action, Feature Films, TV Drama, Documentary, and anything with minimum total running time 60 min.

If you’re doing a genre co-production in Asia, consider South Korea.

Day 4 – Saturday May 19
Today was much more relaxed. I slept in until 7:10am for a change and spent the first two hours writing. Rebecca and I ate some of the fine, bagged 2€ madelines from the supermarket and set off to catch all the booths we may have missed.

What we found was that Asian countries are all represented at booths and they’re looking for more action content than any other region other than America. Europe just doesn’t seem to care, and Latin America and Africa are basically the same as Europe in terms of their film funds and what genres they direct funding to (dramas, documentaries, and more dramas). Canada is also Europe, so that leaves Asia.

Big-time South Korean studio Showbox showed off some of their new trailers, and A Company Man looks to be one of the best Korean action films to date. Trailers are deceptive, and it could easily turn out for the worse, but it was a talking point for us to go talk to a Showbox representative about doing a coproduction in South Korea. We showed off our knife fight from Death Grip, got some emails, and went over to CJ Entertainment, the other big-time Korean studio, and asked the same thing. Got some emails, and moved on.

Thailand, same deal. Got emails, moved on. Indonesia, same thing. They’re all releasing mainstream action films that are festival-friendly. Good action, good (err… sometimes good anyway) scripts, so we made the case that these are ideal relationships with a movement like ours, which unites solid action choreography with good screenplays. We didn’t bother talking to China. They have too much money and there’s no reason to deal with us. Plus their stringent guidelines on how Chinese characters are to be portrayed isn’t something we feel like dealing with right now.

All in all, if action filmmakers want to coproduce with a foreign country, Asia’s where it’s at, not Europe. We couldn’t have known this without coming here.

Shot some footage, played with our host’s cat, found 50€ in the gutter, and treated ourselves to a killer dinner of veal and duck with some wine that I couldn’t pronounce (Rebecca could pronounce it and she took every chance she could to rub it in my face. The pronunciation, not the wine). Saturday night on the Croissete was busier than I had seen thus far. It was basically Long Beach. Same decor, same style as back home. And same music. Globalism has taken this place, whether you like that kind of thing or not, yet American action films are strangely faux pas here, even of the independent sort. But then again, action films, indie or not, have a way of kneading themselves into themes of good and evil that don’t fit a global world of greying morality. Action requires that people fight to the death, and shades of grey appear less often than among the suits of celebrities walking the riviera. That’s not the world here, even though the music and costumes would make you think otherwise. Whether the Euro Zone crisis changes this phenomenon is yet to be seen.

Here’s a little video of the halls of Cannes.

That’s our last day at Cannes. Tomorrow it’s Italy, and I will become fat.

The Kick, a new Korean-Thai co-op from the studio behind Ong Bak. The stunts look phenomenal. Real-contact tricking. If you like Thai-style and TKD then you’ll be in heaven. But below the video I’ve also done up a small video history of glorified Tae Kwon Do and Hapkido. Consider it a little homage to Korea.

The Devil’s Treasure with Hapkido man Wang In Sik (villain from Young Master and Dragon Lord)

Cassanova Wong c. 1975(?), the TKD man from Game of Death 2 and Warriors Two

The North Korean actioner “Order 027” from 1986 (full movie here and here)

Some 90s boot from Wang In Sik again

Lastly Jung Doo Hong in City of Violence from 2005 (the good stuff starts at 4:30)

We owe Koreans a lot, both for their own martial art film industry and their export of Tae Kwon Do and especially Hapkido to the Hong Kong film industry. Notable stars are Wang In Sik, Ji Han Jae, Hwang Jang Lee, and Cassanova Wong. Because if it weren’t for Hapkido, we may not have had Jackie Chan and Sammo Hung films.