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Berlin: Chinese Producers Set 'Kong -- The Origin' Toon

Seth Green

UPDATED: Jeong Jung Kim and Gary Zhang of newly formed Aquamen Entertainment will produce "Kong -- The Origin," a $40 million Chinese animation project that tells a segment of the famous "Journey to the West" fable, set to start later this year.

Kim said "Kong" aims to tell the "Journey to the West" tale from a perspective that can be easily understood by Western audiences. For that it will play down the mythology and play up a sci-fi look and feel and include aliens, robots and other fantasy elements.

"We will try to reveal the truth behind the mythology. It is not a derivative work," Zhang told Variety.

It will be presented in stereoscopic 3D, which is increasingly common for big animation projects and is particularly popular with Chinese audiences.

The pic is likely to be structured as a Chinese-Korean co-venture with Seoul-based vfx and animation house Digital Idea heading the animation work.

The financing is being assembled and is expected to include the China Cultural Chamber of Commerce, a private sector trade organization that was formed in May last year. Li Yanhong, chairman of Internet giant Baidu, is its chairman.

Zhang and Kim said funding could be raised entirely from CCCC members, but that they may also go out to other potential investors.

Kim is a well-known figure in the Korean industry with credits both as a producer ("Oishii Man") and as a director (2007's "Hers").

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