Neon has been hard at work to bring more international films into their distribution model. The young distribution company made waves last year at the Oscars with “I, Tonya” winning Best Supporting Actress for Allison Janney. This year, they will contend with “Three Identical Strangers,” one of the strongest documentaries in the race. They’ve begun to set up their slate for 2019 already, and will once again bring an auteur into the fold. This time around, Bong Joon-ho will be represented by Neon for his upcoming film “Parasite.”
Bong Joon-ho has gathered a strong fanbase in America and around the world. After “Snowpiercer” became a sensation, “Okja” represented one of Netflix‘s first big festival films. While those films have been in English, some of his best work has come in Korean. That makes “Parasite” an interesting film, as he returns to using South Korean actors for the feature. Song Kang-ho, who collaborated with Bong on both “Snowpiercer” and “The Host,” will star. The cast also features veterans of the Korean film scene, including Sun-kyun, Cho Yeo-jeong, Choi Woo-shik, Park So-dam, and Chang Hyae-jin.
Neon’s acquisition of the film helps set up the company with a potential Foreign Language contender for next year’s Oscars. Bong has gained the attention of a worldwide audience, making it likely that “Parasite” will debut at a major festival next year. Bong directed “Mother” in 2009, which went on to become the South Korean submission for the Oscars. His 2006 film, “The Host” was the highest grossing film in the country at the time of its release, but its strong political allegories likely stopped the film from securing the submission status. With a strong cast in tow, Bong could find himself in the race, and at worst, likely will deliver a box office hit for Neon.