High concept, simple story, understandable plot are key to good movies: Kross Pictures' Thomas Kim

Not all stories are able to mobilise in foreign countries.


MUMBAI: Thomas Kim, co-founder of Kross Pictures, in a candid conversation with indiantelevision.com founder CEO and editor in chief Anil Wanvari at The Content Hub 2020, mentioned how he started his career as an investment banker. He also shared how working in The Walt Disney Company and Pirates of the Caribbean inspired him to become a filmmaker.

Kross Pictures, an international film and television production company, made the commercially successful movie The Devotion of Suspect X.

Kim echoed, "I was working as a management consultant for a few years but never really enjoyed that work. I had an opportunity to go to Hollywood and work at The Walt Disney company. This was the first time I saw how movies are made. One particular project Pirates of the Caribbean opened my eyes to filmmaking. The motion pictures group came to my group which was in charge of making a theme park called imaginary group. They made a movie based on the storyboard. This actually taught me that films can be made with any type of stories. So, I quit Disney and started my company in 2003. I am mostly active in Korea and China in making films and TV series based on famous IPs, mostly in comics and novels. In 2015 I had the pleasure to come to India and worked on a film project called ‘Teen’ with Amitabh Bachchan. This was my first experience of working in Bollywood. Today I have offices in Seoul, Los Angeles, Mumbai and Hyderabad.”

Kim, who is very active in China, made one feature film and a TV series and both were commercially hit. The Devotion of Suspect X became a mega-hit with Rs 4 crore box office collection.

Kross Pictures currently has over 15 features and TV content both in Hindi and the South and aspires to become a premium production house. “I believe storytelling is universal. The story which works in one country can work in other countries too. With that vision I have a team in Korea, India, and America, who are constantly looking at projects,” he stated.

In 2014 Kim met Balaji Telefilms' Tanuj Garg in Korea for a project. This meeting led Kim to come to India and explore Indian filmmaking market.

Sharing his Indian vision of Kross Pictures Kim said: “My aspiration for my Mumbai team is to grow to be a premier production house and maybe possibly a studio in the near future."

Kim believes that not all stories are able to mobilise in foreign countries, other than the one which do commercially well. According to Kim, there are key three aspects for a good movie: the element of high concept, a simple story and an understandable plotline. Also, not all stories can localise. A lot of Indian stories are great but it may not work in the Korean market.

Kim, who is currently working on the adaptation of the Bollywood film Kahaani, thinks Believe Oh Baby! - a Telugu movie was a great combination of storytelling and execution. Successful stories or successful adaptation requires a good understanding of the original material. He finds Indian films exciting and emotional. However, there is a lack of disciplined storytelling. That's what the Kross Pictures wants to bring to India.

Sharing details on the necessary ingredients required for a commercially successful film, Kim said, “We try to identify stories which are exciting to the Indian audience. We also look at commercial success. Combining the two we constantly look for stories in Korea, Japan and China that have a track record of being a commercial success.”

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