The Zhongze China-UK Film Fund has signed a strategic partnership with SMG Pictures, which kicks off with London-set comedy Special Couple.

Chen Sijie and Gina Fegan

Zhongze will help facilitate the project’s UK shoot including access to local cast and crew.

Fully financed by SMG Pictures, the Chinese-language project tells the story of two Chinese male friends living in London – one a medical student and the other an illegal immigrant – who pretend to be a couple so they can both stay in the UK.

Creative talent on the film includes director-producer Huang Jianxin and script supervisor Su Huan. SMG Pictures is the film production arm of state-owned media and entertainment giant Shanghai Media Group.

The partnership was signed by SMG Pictures general manager Chen Sijie and China-UK Film Fund executive director Gina Fegan at the on-going Shanghai International Film Festival (SIFF).

Backed by Zhongze Asset Management and Varcale Capital, the China-UK Film Fund also recently signed strategic partnerships with Duncan Heath’s Independent Talent Group (ITG), media technology company Distrify Media and UK production companies BB88 Films and Youniverse.

Craig Conway’s BB88 has a three-picture deal with Zhongze for micro-budget projects including Yousaf Ali Khan’s Giant Land and Floor 44 (working title) to be co-produced with Manmade Films. Floor 44 is the first of two projects being lined up to shoot in China.