16. May 2024

REinvent International Sales has picked up the breathtaking based-on-a-true-story feature, HANA KOREA directed by Frederik Sølberg and Co-written by the famous interpreter, writer and director, Sharon Choi know for her close alliance with Bon Joon-ho on the ‘Parasite’, 2019 and his latest ‘Mikey 17’. HANA KOREA is in pre-production and will be shot on location in Korea from August 2024. 

More than 30,000 North Koreans have fled to South Korea, 70% of them are women. HANA KOREA is based on the true story of one of these women, Hyesun. To protect her all scenes are staged and all parts are played by actors, except for her voiceover. The film is a subtle and thought-provoking reconstruction of Hyesun’s life and examines the challenges of modern human existence in a current society. 

Directed by Frederik Sølberg, who has previously worked within the documentary genre, and co-written by the famous interpreter, writer and director, Sharon Choi known for her close alliance with Bong Joon-ho on the ‘Parasite’, 2019 Oscar-press campaign and his latest ‘Mickey 17’.

HANA KOREA is Frederik Sølberg’s fiction feature debut. 

The film will feature an internationally acclaimed cast consisting of among others Minha Kim, known for her appearance in Apple’s multiple award-winning and Emmy-nominated series, Pachinko (2022) and Kim Joo-ryung – one of South Korea’s most popular actresses with more than 20 years of experience. Her career kicked off with a role in Bong Joon-Ho’s Memories of Murder (2003) and recently reached international fame with her role as player 212 in Netflix’s world-wide smash hit Squid Game (2021). More cast yet to be announced.

HANA KOREA is a powerful tale of a young North Korean refugee’s pursuit of happiness in South Korea. As she navigates her new life, Hyesun must confront the challenges of letting go of her past while finding her place in a hypermodern society that demands sacrifice and surrender.

Director Frederik Sølberg says: “I have been fortunate to get to know Hyesun well after developing the story so closely with her over the last four years. Like Hyesun, I’m a stranger to South Korean culture. In that sense, I share a stranger’s position with her. We shoot on location, incorporating elements from her real life into a distinct mise en scène. My ambition is to create a film that is a true representation of Hyesun’s story and let her true essence and agency shine through. Real events from Hyesun’s life are selected and reworked into a script, which is then brought to life with an actor portraying Hyesun. This process is deeply rooted in reality, a combination of documentary and fictional techniques translated through my visual language.”

We are incredibly proud to represent this unique and mindblowing project. Rarely have I read such a strong script. Having followed the success of Parasite and knowing the fantastic talent behind Hana Korea I have no doubt that this film will be a festival darling with great box office potential”, says Rikke Ennis, CEO at REinvent.

This film is a must see for buyers internationally. I’m certain HANA KOREA will move audiences around the world. We can’t wait to share this amazing story during the Cannes Film Festival”, says Helene Aurø, Sales & Marketing Director.

Hyesun flees from North Korea and is granted asylum in South Korea where she spends three months at Hanawon. In this educational institution, North Korean refugees undergo training in democracy, freedom, equality, and how to use a credit card. Everything she learns about becoming a modern South Korean citizen is new and foreign to her. After three months of training, Hyesun takes her first steps into South Korean society and settles into a modern high-rise apartment in Seoul. But her past still haunts her, and she is plagued by guilt for leaving her family behind in North Korea. Hyesun diligently saves money to send to her mother in North Korea only to find out that the mother has passed away two weeks before the money arrives. The death of her mother leaves Hyesun in deep sorrow. Unable to forgive herself for wanting a better life, Hyesun is comforted by Sook-hee, a fellow Hanawon student. Through their encounter, Hyesun gains the strength to question her approach to life again. 

HANA KOREA is a Danish/Korean co-production, produced by Sonntag Pictures and Seesaw Pictures, with support from Danish Film Institute, DR, Eurimages, DMZ Industry, KCA and Seoul Film Commission. The team counts several award-winning figures such as Cannes-winning Producer Sara Stockmann, Korean Producer Heejung Oh, Oscar-winning Executive Producer Sofie Wanting-Hassing, and European Film Award-honoured DOP Camilla Hjelm. 

REinvent handles international sales. 

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