VIFF 2010: Korean director Bong Joon-Ho eyeing Canada for Le Transperceneige

The Korean filmmaker of the 2006 mutant-monster smash-hit The Host may shoot his next film in Canada.

Bong Joon-Ho, currently in Vancouver as a juror for the $10,000 Dragons and Tigers Award at the Vancouver International Film Festival, talked about his latest project at a press conference on October 4 at the Sutton Place Hotel. He’s currently working on Le Transperceneige (the English working title is Snowpiercer), an adaptation of a French graphic novel about survivors on a train in a neo–Ice Age. The production will feature an international cast with over half the dialogue will be in English and a budget three times of The Host.

“Ten percent of the new film, Snowpiercer, would be shot on the actual location on the snow and ice,” he said through a translator, “so Canada is absolutely one of the top” countries [being considered] for production, and I hear Canada has a great infrastructure for filmmaking, and Korean expats are involved in the film industry a lot. So yes, there is a possibility that I am going to shoot the next film in Canada.”

It’s his fourth time to Vancouver, after first coming to VIFF in 1995 with his graduation film. (Dragons and Tigers programmer Tony Rayns said at the conference that his work was the best he had seen come out of the Korean Academy of Film Arts.) His modern-day noir, Mother, screened at last year’s VIFF. (Mother picked up three awards, including best film, at the fourth annual Asian Film Awards earlier this year.)

He explained that Asian directors tend to become famous at VIFF before going on to the Toronto International Film Festival. “So everybody knows Vancouver is really such an important festival for Asian filmmakers,” he said. Although Hollywood has been calling since the success of The Host, he’s been cautious. He said, via his translator, that his main focus is to make great films and tell great stories rather than to appeal to the North American market. He added that he’s wary of the freedom he would give up as a director if he worked in Hollywood.

The Dragons and Tigers award winner will be announced on Thursday (October 7) at the screening of the Chinese blockbuster Aftershock.