Hong Kong's Edko Films officially unveiled Taiwanese star Jay Chou's directorial debut Secret in Shanghai today. The shooting of the film, budgeted at $2.5m, was as tight-lipped as the film's title.

Edko announced that the film will be released almost simultaneously in Taiwan, China and Hong Kong in late July or early August after a seven-city star tour. Wayne Jiang, general manager of Edko's Beijing office, intends to distribute the film across mainland China on more than 1,000 screens in 300 theatres.

In Hong Kong, Edko will give the film a relatively wide 20-30 screen release. Buena Vista International will handle distribution in Taiwan.

Popular singer Chou, who appeared in Andrew Lau's Initial D and Zhang Yimou's The Curse Of The Golden Flower, also stars in the fantastical romance in which he plays a piano-playing high school student opposite idol Guey Lun-mei.

Chou completed the film in early March just hours before flying to Shanghai to star in $10m basketball movie Kung Fu Dunk.

Asked why he wanted to move behind the camera, he explained that 'as an actor I had a lot of curiosity about the role of the director and wanted the experience of working on a film throughout the creative process'.

Chou came up with the film's original concept and will be hands-on with the film's marketing campaign.

Noting the devotion required to direct a film, Chou said he would concentrate on music and acting for the next three years. The film is produced by Bill Kong (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Curse Of The Golden Flower). Kong brought in regular collaborator Christine To, who previously co-wrote Jet Li's Fearless, to script the film.

The music is a collaboration between Chou and Terdsak Janpan. Special effects are handled by Menfond Electronic Art & Computer Design Co in Hong Kong.

Edko Films launched sales of the film at this year's Cannes Market at its own booth.