Taiwanese director Giddens Ko is reuniting with actor Kai Ko in a new whimsical romance, Till We Meet Again, which is being positioned as a summer blockbuster by producer-distributor Machi Xcelsior Studios.
The film also stars popular actresses Vivian Sung (Our Times) and Gingle Wang (Detention). Kai Ko starred in Giddens Ko’s You Are The Apple Of My Eye, which was a huge hit in Taiwan and across the region in 2011.
Till We Meet Again Movies is adapted by Ko, a novelist-turned-director, from one of his best-selling books God Of Love, written under the pseudonym Nine Knives.
The story follows a young man who, after being struck dead by lightning, takes on the odd job as a matchmaking god to tie men and women together with red strings, while trying to retrieve the lost memory of his previous life.
The project is financed as a rare Taiwan-Korea co-production, with Machi Xcelsior as a main investor, along with Taiwanese production companies Third Man Entertainment, Fist of Fear and Harvest 9 Road Entertainment, and South Korea’s Hive Filmworks.
“This ambitious project is one of the largest-scale fantasy adventure films – it blends romance with traditional Taiwanese folktales and Giddens Ko’s idea of the underworld,” said Machi Xcelsior Studios CEO Lu Wei-Chun, who was previously sales director for 20th Century Fox’s Taiwan office.
“We have deep faith in the director and believe that he can present a unique story with distinctive visual that can intrigue the international audiences.”
Till We Meet Again is the third film directed by Giddens Ko following You Are The Apple Of My Eye and 2017 release Mon Mon Mon Monsters.
Machi is handling international sales on the film, which is its first production. The company was founded in 2018 by singer-turned-film producer Jeffrey Huang, who was also an investor in Wei Te-Sheng’s historical epic Warriors Of The Rainbow: Seediq Bale (2011).
After Huang’s Taipei-based company acquired the film rights to God Of Love around March 2019, production began in mid-December and post-production started right away after filming wrapped in February last year. The film is still in post-production because it is heavy on VFX.
Machi is also a distributor of Taiwanese films, handling titles released this year such as mystery thriller Plurality and zombie horror Sadness, as well as last year’s horror hit Rope Curse 2, all of which it either fully financed or co-financed.
Director Giddens Ko talks Bifan opening film ‘Till We Meet Again’
Taiwanese novelist-turned-director Giddens Ko is set to open the 2021 Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival (Bifan, July 8-18) with his fantasy adventure feature Till We Meet Again.
It follows a young man who is killed by a bolt of lightning and begins working as a god of love, but runs into a former lover he has to help protect.
The film is a Taiwan-Korea co-production with Machi Xcelsior, Third Man Entertainment, Fist of Fear and Harvest 9 Road Entertainment in Taiwan, and Hive Filmworks in South Korea.
Ko, whose debut feature was You Are The Apple Of My Eye in 2011, attended Bifan in 2018 when his second film Mon Mon Mon Monsters won the festival’s audience award. He will be video conferencing in this year due to the pandemic.
The filmmaker spoke to Screen about adapting his own work, casting the feature and his most memorable moments from the shoot.
Till We Meet Again is adapted from one of your bestselling books, God Of Love. Why did you want to make it into a film?
It started with Korean movie Along With The Gods, which was such a huge success. I was so overwhelmed when I watched it. To make a movie about life and death, about karma, made me so envious. So I thought of making a movie based on the novel I wrote nearly 20 years ago, also about life and death.
How did you cast and work with the main actors?
Kai Ko [who was in debut feature You Are The Apple Of My Eye] was the starting point for me to turn from a novelist to a director. I guess that’s the bromance between us. Besides, he actually went through hell so it shouldn’t be hard for him. [Kai Ko’s 2014 drug scandal left him out of work for several years.]
Who should play the other role of the peculiar girl troubled me at first. Then Gingle Wang came along, claimed that she’d read my novel and was obsessed with it. She was giggling non-stop [in the audition] so I picked her. I didn’t know why but she just kept eating. I remembered we were doing the table read one time, all of a sudden she placed her legs on the table just to show me how fat she’s gotten. I guess I was super lucky.
Vivian Sung’s very first movie Café. Waiting. Love was based on a novel of mine, too. I wasn’t the director, though I highly regret that. There are so many details in her performances so she was always my first choice as leading actress.
When and where did you shoot?
At the end of 2019, during winter, in a town by the sea in Keelung [in Taiwan].
What were the most memorable things from the production for you?
The most memorable thing would be the underworld scenes. We had so much sand in the studio, which made the air horrible. What’s worse was that the sand got wet and looked ugly so we got lots of portable stoves on set to bake it. Once the sand was fully baked, we quickly placed it in front of the camera.
The exterior scenes were mostly set in Keelung, where it rained 24/7. Though that fit the tone of the movie, it could be quite troublesome. But the biggest headache was the dog. The dog actor was great, but shooting scenes with a real dog were just so… I swear I will never write any scenes that have anything to do with animals again. [laughs]
What is your relationship with Bifan?
Before I started making movies, when I read on the DVD covers of movies that they had been awarded at Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival – it was like a medal of honour. So when my movies were invited to Bifan, it was unbelievable to me. I love Bifan so much. Beginning with the opening film premiere, I loved every bit of it.
I still remember leaving Korea the day before the audience award was granted to Mon Mon Mon Monsters in order to make it to the next film festival. I was so regretful. Then Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival awarded it the Golden Raven and I wasn’t present. It seemed like whenever I wasn’t around, I would get awards.