EXCLUSIVE: Film financier and fund manager Samuel Ha has opened the doors to Bound Entertainment, a new studio focused on global stories and Asia co-productions in film and TV, while also publishing web comics for the U.S. and Korea.
Heading up film and TV in the Los Angeles office is 10-year-international feature development vet Jamie Lai, whose credits include co-producing the South Korea-China co-production Bounty Hunters ($32M China box office) starring Lee Min-ho and Tiffany Tang. Lai was also the former lead media producer for Wanda’s movie parks. At Bound, she will focus on bringing content and talent from Korea and Asia, and ramping up a genre-driven IP library.
Ha is the former executive fund manager at Union Investment Partners, Korea’s largest private investor in film and entertainment. He was the executive producer on Bong Joon Ho’s Okja and the associate producer on his Snowpiercer. Other producing credits include Kim Jee Won’s Inrang: The Wolf Brigade, STX’s Free State of Jones and Secret in Their Eyes, and Drake Doremus’ Equals.
At the top of Bound Entertainment’s slate is a project based on Benjamin Wallace’s New York Magazine “Chateau Suckers” article, with Fantasy Island and Crazy Rich Asians‘ Jimmy O Yang attached to play the lead, and Ken Cheng adapting and executive producing. The article chronicles the twisty, stranger-than-fiction exploits of notorious wine counterfeiter Rudy Kurniawan (also the subject of the 2016 documentary Sour Grapes), who was convicted in 2013 in the largest case of wine fraud prosecuted in American history.
Said Ha, “We’re excited to work with Jimmy O Yang and Ken Cheng as they make the perfect partners for this multi-faceted story based on an Asian immigrant. Bound Entertainment is committed to telling diverse stories with distinct points of view – exploring the story behind this con, and the characters involved to make for the kind of compelling entertainment Bound aims to bring to the screen.”
Added Yang and Cheng: “Rudy Kurniawan’s story is strange, funny, sad and somehow manages to encapsulate many of the themes we’re interested in, from wine and the immigrant pursuit of the American Dream, to more wine and the uncomfortable parallels between the ruling elites in Wall Street and Hollywood. What we’re saying is that we really like wine and have found amazing partners in Sam and Bound and we’re psyched to work and drink wine with them.”
Bound Entertainment’s film and TV operations in Asia will have a focus on Korea and Southeast Asia, with plans to open an office in Vietnam this year before its first Vietnamese co-production film starts shooting with filmmaker Phan Linh.
Bound is also launching two international TV series adapted from novels they acquired: Black Flower by author Young-Ha Kim, and The Silence of Bones by debut YA author June Hur. The latter made Buzzfeed’s 28 Most Anticipated YA Books of 2020.
At Union Investment, Ha managed a large content investment fund that made more than 60 deals spanning from equity investments into entertainment and media companies to financing international co-productions with the U.S. Prior to that, he was a senior executive at the film investment and production studio DCG Plus, where he packaged and financed deals on more than 15 films that were sold to major Korean distributors.