Beijing-based cinema management company, New Film Association, is stepping into film production and investment via a new outfit Shengshi Huarui Film Investment and Management Ltd.

The company's first project is a $500,000 (RMB3m) satirical comedy The Debt Of 105,000 by first-time feature filmmaker Ji Yu, about a farmer coming to the city to collect debt for his injured brother. Liu Hua (Crazy Stone) and Li Naiwen (Assembly) will lead the cast. Shooting will start in July.

New Film Association is one of the three main investors in the company, which has been established with a fund of $1.45m (RMB10m). The other two are Beijing-basedinvestment company Shengtang Time Culture Group and telecoms firm Hongxun Group.

Other minority investors include film distributor Beijing Forbidden City and Trinity Pictures and ad company BAMC Entertainment.

'It's a complete combination of investors covering film investment, advertisement, distribution and exhibition,' said Gao Jun, general manager of Shengshi Huarui, also deputy general manager of New Film Association.

According to Gao, the company plans to invest in three to five films a year by young Chinese filmmakers. The budget of the films is set around or below $1m, but the company will use its resources in the ad industry, distribution and exhibition to help the marketing of these small-budgeted films.

Besides investing in young filmmakers, Shengshi Huarui has also invested in several market-oriented co-productions such as Eastern Mordor's Painted Skin, Mandarin Films' Yip Man and Kungfu Chef, starring Sammo Hung.

'Investing in these market-oriented commercial films can provide profits for us to use to develop upcoming filmmakers,' Gao said.

Beijing New Film Association is one of the top five cinema circuits in China, owning 126 cinemas and accounting for a 10% market share of China's exhibition business.