Chinese government-owned China Film Group announced to introduce 'young filmmaker developing project' and 'author film series' to develop young filmmakers and mid-budget filmmaking, as a new direction of the group's film production plan in 2007, according to China Film president Han Sanping.

While the group is involved in big-budget co-productions such as Peter Chan's Warlords, Red Cliff by John Woo, A Hope with Stephen Chow and Mei Lanfang with Chen Kaige, China Film Group in 2007 has set new tasks to focus on developing mid-budget films and young filmmakers, Han said during a company speech.

A fund of $1.94m (15 million RMB) is set up to subsidize films made by young film-makers.

Also, China Film is collaborating with private entertainment group Joy Media and Beijing Film Academy to set up a new film-maker selecting and funding mechanism.

Joy Media has recently bought, an Internet literature site that contains more than 8000 Chinese-language original Internet novels per day, which is seen as a major source for film scripts and talents. Beijing Film Academy is generally seen as the cradle of future filmmakers in the area.

Although the selection operation is yet to be announced, young filmmakers selected in the programme will be offered funds from $103,000 (800,000 RMB) to $650,000 (5m RMB) to make high-definition TV films, digital films or feature films.

China Film also launched a mid-budget production plan titled 'author film series,' which will emphasize story-telling instead of computer-generated effects. However, instead of becoming arthouse films with less marketability, stories will be contemporary and genres will be mostly comedy, according to Han.

The first in the series is director Ma Liwen's satire written by Liu Zhenyun. The Crazy Stone director Nin Hao's upcoming film The Crazy Race will also be part of the series.

Meanwhile, China Film Group and Hollywood 's Crest Digital had earlier announced a joint venture to develop digital media content in China, which will include creating a DVD and CD manufacturing facility in the outskirts of Beijing and developing anticounterfeiting technology. A China Film spokesperson said the joint venture project is now pending approval of Chinese authority.