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Wild Bunch pacts with Taihe Media to create new Chinese company

Taihe Wild Bunch will identify Chinese films with international potential and sell the Wild Bunch catalogue, including remake rights, into China.

Wild Bunch is joining forces with Chinese integrated entertainment group Taihe Media to create a new Beijing-based international sales and distribution company.

The new outfit, called Taihe Wild Bunch, will focus on the international sale and distribution of Chinese productions as well as the sale of the Wild Bunch catalogue, including remake rights, into China.

The new partners described the venture as the first international sales structure to operate out of Mainland China.

A key pole of its activities will be to identify Chinese talent and features with international potential.

“We’ve been keen to increase our involvement with the Chinese movie industry for some time and we feel we’ve found the right partner, both to develop our ability to expose Chinese movies abroad and to strengthen our distribution power in China,” said Wild Bunch co-chief Vincent Maraval.

Founded in 2001, Taihe Media is one of the most influential entertainment group’s in China.

Its subsidiaries include music company Taihe Rye, which created acts such as top Chinese boy band M.I.C.; TV and film powerhouse Pegasus & Taihe, which is currently producing the ambitious 3D docudrama Imperial City, Beijing, and Taihe Pictures, the recent credits of which include 1 Mile Above and Sino-German romantic comedy I Phone You.

“We also look forward to supplementary opportunities with our new partner in this very exciting market,” added Maraval.

Chuck Zhang, general manager of Taihe Pictures, said the pact would create a much-needed opening for the Chinese film industry into the international market.

“The core of the Chinese film industry has limited contact with the international market and that is what we intend to address. We will seek to use international partners and to apply financially sound criteria to create a boutique catalogue,” he said.

Paris-based sales and production powerhouse Wild Bunch has a long history of working with Chinese talent and features.

Wild Bunch co-chief Brahim Chioua co-produced Chen Kaige’s 1998 Gong Li-starrer, $20m The Emperor and the Assassin, which at the time was one of the biggest Chinese productions to date.

Maraval executive produced Lou Ye’s 2004 Purple Butterfly, set against the backdrop of 1930s Shanghai, just before the start of the Sino-Japanese War.

In the early days of Wild Bunch, the company produced and sold Hong Kong filmmaker Fruit Chan’s Durian Durian.

Most recently, the company has handled the sale of Wong Kar Wai’s The Grandmaster and is a co-producer and distributor on Jean-Jacques Annaud’s upcoming Mongolia-set, 3D epic Wolf Totem.

Taiehe Wild Bunch will be based in Beijing and will be controlled by Taihe Pictures.

The management team has yet to be announced.

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