Malaysia’s Astro Shaw and US-based sales agent Birch Tree Entertainment are joining forces to produce and distribute a slate of martial arts action films.

Birch Tree will handle worldwide sales on the slate, starting with three title produced by Astro Shaw – The Collector, Apokalips X and Crash – which the US sales agent will introduce in Cannes.

The Collector is directed by award-winning Malaysian filmmaker James Lee (The Beautiful Washing Machine) who is working with martial arts stuntman Sunny Pang. Apokalips X, a post-apocalyptic action title which makes heavy use of special effects, is the debut of Malaysian director Mamat Khalid.

The two companies are jointly developing further titles with three new films scheduled to start production in Malaysia this year. Astro Shaw will produce with Birch Tree distributing.

“Birch Tree is pleased to be working with Malaysia’s premiere production company. Malaysia has a strong tradition of action filmmaking and Birch Tree will ensure the world experiences this tradition,” said Birch Tree president and CEO Art Birzneck,

“Astro Shaw looks forward to working with Birch Tree Entertainment to introduce our action films to the international marketplace,” said Astro Shaw vice president Gayatri Su-lin Pillai.

“Our production team headed by Imillya Irwani will work closely with Art Birzneck to ensure that we provide the worldwide marketplace with high-quality, high-concept action films that appeal to the international audience.”

Astro Shaw is the production arm of Asian media giant Astro Malaysia Holdings, which is also Malaysia’s leading pay-TV operator.