CJ ENTERTAINMENT TO ADAPT GRIPPING TRUE STORY “THE VANISHED” FROM NOVEL TO FEATURE FILM

Continuing to fulfill its commitment to staking out an industry leadership position in global feature film productions, CJ Entertainment, Korea’s leading entertainment conglomerate, announced today that the company has optioned the rights to the best-selling French nonfiction book THE VANISHED and will develop, finance and produce a feature film adaption of the material.

Written by Léna Mauger and Stéphane Remael, THE VANISHED tells the powerful true story of the disappearance of people in Japan. Every year, nearly one hundred thousand Japanese vanish without a trace. Known as the johatsu, or the “evaporated,” they are often driven by shame and hopelessness, leaving behind lost jobs, disappointed families and mounting debts. In THE VANISHED, the authors uncover the human faces behind the phenomenon, including those who left, those who stayed behind and those who help orchestrate the disappearances.

The quest to learn the stories of the johatsu weaves its way through: A Tokyo neighborhood so notorious for its petty criminal activities that it was literally erased from the maps; Reprogramming camps for subpar bureaucrats and businessmen to become “better” employees; the “suicide” cliffs of Tojinbo, patrolled by a man fighting to save the desperate; and desolate Fukushima in the aftermath of the tsunami.

As exotic and distant as their stories might appear to an outsider’s eyes, the human experience shared by the interviewees remains powerfully universal, which is why CJ Entertainment sees such potential in making and positioning the film for a wide global audience.

Producing for CJ Entertainment will be Tae-sung Jeong, CEO of CJ Entertainment, and Francis Chung, Vice President and Head of International Film Production. Mike Im, the company’s Head of International will executive produce.

Fred Lee, CJ Entertainment’s Los Angeles-based Director of Development, and Jihyun Ok, CJ’s Seoul-based Director of Development, will oversee development of the project.

The film will remain true to its source material in that it will be set in Japan.

The VANISHED deal comes on the heels of CJ Entertainment revealing its plan last month to produce and release a minimum of 20 local films overseas in more than 10 languages annually by 2020.

The deal also marks the second French novel adaption for CJ Entertainment, following the 2013 hit film SNOWPIERCER, directed by Bong Joon Ho and starring Chris Evans, Song Kang Ho, Octavia Spencer, Ed Harris, and Tilda Swinton, which CJ adapted from the French graphic novel titled “Le Transperceneige.”

Léna Mauger said, “Often, during our investigation, reality has gone beyond fiction. We were struck by the cinematic potential of the testimonials and we think that the CJ team will have the talent to bring their strength to the screen.”

CJ Entertainment’s Francis Chung said, “We are thrilled to be adapting this enthralling world, captured so vividly by Léna and Stéphane in THE VANISHED. We were immediately drawn in by the universality of the themes and believe wholeheartedly that a feature film can translate these in a powerful new experience for audiences.”

A collaborative effort between author Léna Mauger and photographer Stéphane Remael that spanned over five years of reporting, THE VANISHED was released in 2014 through Les Arènes in France and its English translation was published in 2016 through Skyhorse Publishing and through Chaek-Se-Sang Publishing in Korea.

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