From starry commercial films to projects from world-renowned auteurs, Screen previews some of the hot Asian projects in the market at Cannes. Click the sales company names below to navigate to the relevant websites.
Liz Shackleton in Mumbai
Initially a broadcaster, UTV Motion Pictures has evolved into an integrated studio that also encompasses film and TV production and distribution, post-production, animation, new media and games. At Cannes it will be focusing its sales efforts on upcoming releases Jodhaa Akbar, a historical epic from Lagaan director Ashutosh Gowariker, and Goal, starring John Abraham (Water) and Bipasha Basu (Dhoom 2) about an Asian football league, which was filmed entirely in the UK.
Studio 18 is the recently launched movie arm of Indian media giant Network 18, which has a market cap of $1bn and joint ventures with CNN and Time Warner. It will unveil its debut slate at Cannes including the Mira Nair presentation Little Zizou, Rajkumar Santoshi's drama Halla Bol, and Reema Kagti's romantic comedy Honeymoon Travels, which has grossed close to $600,000 at the international box office, excluding India.
London and Mumbai-based iDream Independent Pictures (IIP) handles Hindi films with international appeal for non-Indian markets along with 'India-centric' English-language films. Its Cannes slate includes four English-language market premieres: romantic comedy Americanizing Shelley; romantic drama Bombil And Beatrice; drama Karma, Confessions And Holi; and thriller Telling Lies. The company also co-produced UK horror The Sick House which is being sold by Arclight Films worldwide.
Meanwhile Adlabs Films has a slate that includes action thriller Cash; costume drama Umrao Jaan; Anurag Kashyap's Black Friday, and superhero flick Krrish. Adlabs is also backing a remake of 1974 Bollywood western Sholay, now in post-production.
Jason Gray in Tokyo
Japan had its most successful box office year in 2006, followed by high-profile sales to Hollywood of local titles such as Nightmare Detective (TWC) and Dororo (Universal). All eyes will be on the new Japanese projects in the market.
J-horror is still thriving. Toei has The Haunted Samurai, starring Satoshi Tsumabuki (Dororo), and teen thriller XX, directed by Kenta Fukasaku (Battle Royale II). Shochiku hopes to scare up sales with Densen-Uta, about a song that kills. Newly re-energised Nikkatsu is unleashing the action-horror Negative Happy, Chainsaw Edge, which features CG effects by the Death Note team.
On the fantasy and animation front, Shochiku is unveiling the $10m full-CG animation Vexille from Appleseed director Fumihiko Sori. It is also announcing Kitaro, a live-action version of the creature anime with special effects by Centro Digital Pictures.
For buyers looking for drama or romance, Toei is hoping to follow the success of Yamato with Second World War film For Those We Love, about kamikaze pilots. Kadokawa Pictures is premiering Switching, a coming-of-age tale from Nobuhiko Obayashi. TBS is selling youth drama The Bandage Club, starring Yuya Yagira, and will also show clips of Miike Takashi's latest film, manga adaptation Crows Zero.
Japanese actors are also attracting international interest. Nikkatsu is bringing Rinko Kikuchi's first film since her Oscar nomination for Babel, oddball comedy The Insects Unlisted In The Encyclopedia.
Liz Shackleton in Hong Kong
Hong Kong and China are bringing an array of big-budget period action films and contemporary crime thrillers to Cannes. While international rights to John Woo's $75m war epic Red Cliff lie with US-based Summit Entertainment, start-up Hong Kong sales agent ARM Distribution will be offering Peter Ho-sun Chan's $40m Qing Dynasty action drama The Warlords, starring Jet Li, Andy Lau and Takeshi Kaneshiro, and Beijing-based Huayi Brothers is selling Feng Xiaogang's war drama The Assembly.
Contemporary action thrillers include Mandarin Films' $10m Flash Point, which reunites Dragon Tiger Gate director Wilson Yip and action choreographer Donnie Yen, and Universe Entertainment's $8m Invisible Target, starring Nicholas Tse, Shawn Yue and Jaycee Chan.
Emperor Motion Pictures is selling Chinese auteur Jiang Wen's highly anticipated The Sun Also Rises, while Media Asia's slate includes new projects from directors including Dante Lam, Alan Mak and Yau Nai Hoi. Mei Ah Entertainment is bringing an expanded slate of productions from start-up producer/financer BIG Media Group, led by Jingle Ma's Butterfly Lovers, set to star Louis Koo and Shawn Yue.
Hong Kong-based sales agent Golden Network Asia is focusing on comedy drama Mid Road Gang, which recently topped the Thai box office in its opening week, and a slate of in-house productions from Japanese animation company Madhouse.
Meanwhile, Amsterdam and Hong Kong-based global sales agent Fortissimo Films has two titles in official selection - Bela Tarr's The Man From London and Ekachai Uekrongtham's Pleasure Factory - and will also be pre-selling Steve Jacobs' Disgrace, starring John Malkovich, Stephan Elliott's Black Oasis, starring Rose McGowan, and Thai director Pen-ek Ratanaruang's Ploy among other projects.
Jean Noh in Seoul
CJ Entertainment is selling Lee Chang-dong's Competition film Secret Sunshine, and in pre-production has colonial period piece Modern Boy by Jung Ji-woo starring Park Hae-il and Kim Hye-soo.
MK Pictures has Once Upon A Time In Seoul about two boys' struggles in a post-Korean War refugee camp, with martial arts choreography by Shin Jae-myung (A Dirty Carnival). Cineclick has Kim Hee-jung's feature debut The Wonder Years, starring Lee Se-young as a young girl convinced a pop star must be her real mother.
Meanwhile, Mirovision is premiering the Vietnam-set thriller Muoi and iHQ has love story For Eternal Hearts, set in the turbulent 1970s, starring Choung Kyung-ho and Kim Min-sun.
Films in production include Pablo Trapero's Misencounter, a drama being sold by Cineclick about a college girl who accidentally kills her lover, and Studio 2.0's horror thriller Epitaph set in a 1940s hospital, co-directed by Jung Sik and Jung Bum-Sik.
In pre-production, Prime Entertainment has crime thriller Seven Days starring Yunjin Kim from US TV series Lost.
Silvia Wong in Singapore
The Media Development Authority is leading a delegation of about nine Singapore companies, including MediaCorp Raintree Pictures which will commence sales on Royston Tan's 881 with a teaser trailer. The musical, in post-production, promises glitzy costumes and lavish choreography.
Several start-ups offer various projects in development. Pilgrim Pictures will promote comedy Top Score and psychological thriller Starring; Monsoon Pictures has From Beirut To Jerusalem set in 1980s war-torn Lebanon; and Ad Infinitum Films has More Than Words about a gangster who falls for a student.
Silvia Wong in Singapore
Sahamongkolfilm International is presenting the first promo of two highly anticipated films: kickboxing film Ong Bak 2, the directorial debut of actor Tony Jaa; and Nonzee Nimibutr's Queens Of Langkasuka, a big-budget, effects-laden epic starring Ananda Everingham.
GMM Tai Hub will be screening Banjong Pisanthanakun and Parkpoom Wongpoom's Alone. The eagerly awaited horror, which opened solidly in March, has been widely sold to more than 10 territories. The company is also bringing Khomkrit Treewimol's Bedside Detective, in post-production, about a trainee private eye.
Five Star will screen the first footage of Kongkait Komesiri's action drama Muay Thai Chaiya, which is in post-production, while Fortissimo Films is handling Pen-ek Ratanaruang's new erotic drama Ploy, due to open in June.
Silvia Wong in Singapore
TV production company MD Pictures will make its first foray into features with three projects. Kala, which opened locally to strong reviews in April, is a film noir by writer-director Joko Anwar, whose directorial debut Janji Joni was a local box-office hit. The other two projects are Ari Azis' The Nurse and Hanung Bramantyo's Signs Of Love, both scheduled for release later this year.