Start-up Chinese producer-distributor J.A. Media has tapped former Media Asia sales chief Jeffrey Chan and leading Hong Kong producer Nansun Shi as consultants as it ramps up its film distribution activities.

Based in Beijing, the company is a subsidiary of Jilin-based biotech and alternative energy producer, Jian Group, owned by entrepreneur Sheng Xiao Dong. The company is already involved in the production and distribution of TV drama series, such as remakes of two classic ATV drama series - Huo Yuan Jia, which stars Ekin Cheng, and Chen Zhen, starring Jordan Chan.

Now with Chan and Shi on board, J.A. Media is gearing up to make a big splash at Cannes where it will unveil its debut slate of five Chinese-language features - four from Hong Kong directors and one from a Taiwanese director. It also plans to host a launch party at the festival on May 20.

Leading Hong Kong director Stanley Kwan (Everlasting Regret, Lan Yu) has been advising the company on its film production strategy, while Chan and Shi will advise on both domestic and overseas distribution.

Hiring consultants such as Chan, Shi and Kwan is part of the company's strategy to bring on board overseas professionals to enhance its competitiveness in China's fast-developing but still nascent private production industry.

Chan was formerly head of distribution and sales at Media Asia where he oversaw the international distribution of high-profile titles such as the Infernal Affairs trilogy, which was remade as The Departed, Andrew Lau and Alan Mak's Confession Of Pain and Johnnie To's Exiled.

Shi, wife of world-renowned director Tsui Hark, is one of Hong Kong 's best-known independent producers with credits including Infernal Affairs and Seven Swords. She served on the jury of this year's Berlin International Film Festival.