Ashok Amritraj's Hyde Park Entertainment has created an Asian division Hyde Park Asia with ambitions to produce both international and local films in the region while securing local backing from various institutions and investors.

Amritraj says he already has an office opened in India and is planning to open one shortly in Singapore. He also has plans to produce both international and local films in India, the first Hollywood title being The Other End Of The Line to star Jesse Metcalfe and a leading Indian actress which will shoot later this year. MGM has distribution rights in North America.

Hyde Park will produce its first Indian-language film in early 2008.

Meanwhile the company has set up a joint venture with Kerala-based Toonz Entertainment for live action and animated product. The first film under the joint venture will be called Secret Realm.

Hyde Park already has a co-production and co-financing deal with Mumbai-based Adlabs, a division of Indian corporate giant Reliance, for five of its US pictures kicking off with Asylum directed by David Ellis and starring Sarah Roemer.

'Over the last couple of years with Asia's growing influence in the world marketplace, it has become a major focus for me,' said Amritraj, who is Indian-born but has lived for many years in Los Angeles.

Amritraj also points to his joint venture with Japan's Capcom to produce a new film of videogame Streetfighter which will be co-financed by Hyde Park and Capcom and will shoot later this year in Hong Kong.

He is also developing Solitary Isle, a film based on the short story by Koji Suzuki (The Ring) with Japan's Kadokawa.

The company is involved as sales agent on Roger Spottiswoode's The Children Of Huang Shi starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Chow Yun Fat and Michelle Yeoh which recently wrapped in China. Amritraj added that he plans to shoot the big-budget Mandrake The Magician in China with Chuck Russell directing.

Hyde Park, which has in the past had close relationships with Walt Disney Studios and MGM, is currently in a five-year, first-look co-financing and production deal with 20th Century Fox. Its most recent release was Sandra Bullock thriller Premonition which grossed $47.8m through Sony's TriStar in the US earlier this year and over $70m worldwide to date.

Next up, on Aug 31, is the Fox release of Death Sentence starring Kevin Bacon and directed by James Wan followed by Asylum.

Amritraj was keen to stress his focus on European talent and films as well, citing his active development on the film of UK TV series The Persuaders, his relationship with UK financier Brass Hat Group and his relationships with European directors like the UK's Anand Tucker (Shopgirl) and Germany's Mennan Yapo (Premonition).