Chinese Henan Film & Television Production Group Corporation (Henan Film Group) is ramping up two big budget film productions - $30m US-China co-production Melanie’s Violin and $22.5m (RMB150m) historic epic Generals Of The Yang Family.

Melanie’s Violin reflects the story of 30,000 Jews fleeing from Europe to Shanghai during World War II. US producer Branko Lustig (Schindler’s List, Gladiator) and media entrepreneur Phil Blazer, publisher of National Jewish News will serve as producers. The film will be co-produced by Henan Film Group, Shanghai West Coast Sheng Bao Cultural Communications and LA-based Six Points Film, a company co-founded by Lustig and Blazer.

US writer Larry Ramin will script the film, which, according to Lan Lixing, vice chairman of Henan Film Group, will be budgeted at $30m with its shoot date set around the end of 2011.

The story is adapted from Chinese novelist He Ning’s book of the same title, about violinist Lanode Wissendorff who fled to Shanghai after his wife was murdered by the Nazis. There, he and a Japanese soldier became close friends and he fell in love with a Chinese nurse.

Director and cast of the film are yet to be announced but Lan said producers of the project plan to recruit a US filmmaker.

Meanwhile, Henan Film Group is producing a new film directed by Ronnie Yu (Fearless) called Generals Of The Yang Family. Louis Koo, Taiwanese actor Vic Chou, Wu Chun (My Kingdom), Raymond Lam and mainland Chinese actress Xu Fan (Aftershock) will star.

Set in the Song dynasty, the film is an epic about the legendary Yang family sacrificing two generations of their family members to serve the country.

Shooting is schedule to start in August. Raymond Wong’s Beijing-based Tianma United Films will handle international sales while Huayi Brothers Media will distribute the film in Greater China region.