Hong Kong filmmaker Peter Chan has formed a production company - Applause Pictures - with Teddy Chen, director of 1997 actioner Downtown Torpedoes, and the former head of Hong Kong video company Panorama Allan Fung.

According to Chan, the goal of the company is "to bring Asian filmmakers together and to close the gap between Asian markets." The company intends to find projects that have pan-Asian appeal and set them up as co-productions between Hong Kong and other Asian countries.

Chan has spent the last few years working in Los Angeles, but was inspired by the region's renewed vigour when he dropped into the Hong Kong FilmMart event last year. "If Chinese filmmakers can make movies in Hollywood, why can't Asians jump out of their regional markets and make movies for each other'" said Chan.

The company's first step is to look for projects that it can co-finance with Europe. Once European finance has been secured, Chan believes he will be able to set up co-production relationships within Asia that will allow directors to move outside their local market.

The rising value of content-hungry dot.com companies on the Hong Kong stock exchange is indirectly fuelling a renaissance in the local film industry. Although the number of films produced in Hong Kong has shrunk, Chan believes the demand for quality product is higher than ever.

Chan will not disclose his financial backers, but says the company is still considering developing a closer relationship with Star East Asia, the East Asian arm of Rupert Murdoch-owned broadcaster Star TV.