The firstAustralia-Singapore co-production, Tony Ayres' The Home Song Stories starring China-born American actress Joan Chen, isto start filming next month in Melbourne and later in Macau for a 2007delivery. Christopher Doyle is the cinematographer

Big and Little Films'Michael McMahon and Liz Watts of Porchlight Films are producing the epic dramain collaboration with the Film Finance Corporation Australia and Singapore's MediaCorpRaintree Pictures.

Fortissimo Films has takeninternational rights to the film except Malaysia and Singapore (handled byMediaCorp Raintree) as well as Australia and New Zealand (by Dendy Films).

Australian filmmaker Ayres,whose debut feature Walking on Water premiered at the Berlin Film Festival four years ago, based hisscreenplay that revolves around family secrets and unrequited love on his ownpersonal stories.

Chen plays his mother, aHong Kong nightclub singer who falls in love with a Chinese illegal immigrantin Australia. The young man, played by China-born Singapore-based actor QiYuwu, then falls for her 16-year-old daughter and the trio's relationship endsup in tragic consequences.

The Home Song Stories marks the first international project of MediaCorpRaintree, which has enjoyed recent local success with Jack Neo's I NotStupid Too, Singapore's secondhighest grossing film with more than $4m, and

"While searching for thenext Jack Neo and grooming new talents like Kelvin Tong in Singapore, we'relooking to work with Australia, New Zealand and Canada to build up aninternational slate to break into bigger markets," says CEO Daniel Yun who isalso developing a couple of big budget productions with China.

Raintree's The Maid - ANew Beginning, Kelvin Tong'sfollow-up to his The Maid, is oneof the projects selected for HAF this year.