Mystery and Romance Genres Dominate Busan’s Expanding E-IP Market

·3 min read

Mystery-themed content is a key strand of the E-IP market set to take place next month alongside the Busan International Film Festival.

The pitching and intellectual property trading event (Oct. 11-14, 2021) is the only component of Busan’s Asian Content and Film Market this year that will be operated as a hybrid combining both online and onsite events. The longstanding rights market for completed films, in contrast, will be online-only for the second year, due to ongoing anti-COVID restrictions.

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The impetus for the E-IP market’s in-person component comes from the vibrancy of the marketplace for intellectual properties of many kinds that can now be developed into films, TV series or short-form content.

Busan’s E-IP market was launched in 2012 and has proved popular as books, webtoons, web novels, story treatments and video games have all been discovered to have the potential to be developed, packaged and traded. The seemingly unlimited demand for original content by an ever growing number of streamers has further stoked demand.

To date, 160 Korean properties have been presented. In 2019, the market was extended to include properties from Taiwan and Japan through partnerships with the Taiwan Creative Content Agency (TAICCA) and the Visual Industry Promotion Organization (VIPO). That format has been retained for 2021 as well. This year, organizers have unveiled 45 official selections were unveiled: 28 hailing from Korea; ten from Taiwan; and seven from Japan.

While the stories span a diverse range of genres from fantasy to drama, action, thriller and comedy, mystery is the focal theme for several.

These include “Gyeongseong’s Women’s Counseling Center” and “The Evaporated Woman”. The former is a story set in the 1930s, about a young protagonist in her twenties who returns from studies abroad and meets two other young ladies. They set up a counseling center and become detectives, solving a myriad of cases in a bid to help the women who knock on their door. The underlying book is written by Kim Jae-hee.

“The Evaporated Woman,” authored by Kim Youngju, depicts the story of a woman who loses everything overnight only to find a glimmer of hope through a high-flying director at a chaebol corporation. The condition for her salvation is that she should discard her past and live instead as her dead sister. As she struggles with her own identity, the woman discovers shocking events that lead to an uncontrollable fear and a difficult escape.

Teen romances, stemming from popular web toons, are another thematic staple of the Korean IP market.

In “Dorona Farewell Office” a novel by writer Son Hyunju, breaking up is hard to do, but the agency in question removes the difficult and awkward situations for its clients. The concept is pitched as a reflection on human relationships and the essential partings

Other romance projects getting an airing at the E-IP market include: “The Gate of Solitude: Cinderella-The Mystery Cuisine 3,” ”Reply: Hate Comments” and “How to Deal With an Evil Boss?”

Organizers tout the participation of publishers and content production studios including Toyou’s Dream, Munpia Co., Lico and Kyobo Book Centre. Major Korean industry players expected to be on hand include: CJ ENM, Lotte Cultureworks, SBS Studio S, Studio Dragon, KT Studio Genie, MBC, Megabox Plus M, Watcha and Rakuten Viki.

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