China's Ning Hao has been selected as the sixth director toparticipate in the regional film project, Focus: First Cuts, which was launchedin March by Hong Kong star Andy Lau's Focus Films and Star Chinese Movies.

Focusalso announced that it will co-produce Ning's as-yet-untitled film withBeijing-based Concord Creation International. The film, which is set to startshooting in August, revolves around a group of people working on a heist.

Launched at this year's Hong Kong Filmart, Focus: First Cutsaims to bring new talent into the Chinese-language film industry by financing aseries of six high definition (HD) features from up-and-coming directors. StarChinese Movies will have exclusive cable premieres in Asia for all six films.

Directors already attached to the project include HongKong's Wong Ching Po and Lee Kung Lok, who will direct a feature together, HongKong's Lam Tze Chung, Malaysia's Ho Yuhang, Singapore's Kelvin Tong andTaiwan's Robin Lee.

Ning has previously directed two features - Incense,which won the Grand Prize at Tokyo Filmex in 2003, and Mongolian Ping Pongwhich screens in competition at the Shanghai International Film Festival nextweek.