Beijing-based producers Ciwen Pictures and Asian Union have announced co-production deals with Italy’s Seven Dreams, for a romantic comedy, and with Germany’s Action Concept for a slate of action films.

Seven Dreams, founded by Italian actress and producer Maria Grazia Cucinotta, will join hands with Ciwen and Asian Union to co-produce a $6.9m (Euros5m) romantic comedy Italian Holiday (working title). 

Eduardo Ponti, son of renowned actress Sophia Loren, will direct the film while Cucinotta and two unannounced Chinese actors will be the leading cast. 

The film will be set in both Italy and China and the story draws inspiration from the 1953 Audrey Hepburn classic Roman Holiday, said Cucinotta at the on-going Shanghai International Film Festival (SIFF). 

Production is scheduled to start later this year with Rai Cinema taking charge of distribution in Italy and jointly handling international sales with Seven Dreams.

Meanwhile, Action Concept, Ciwen and Asian Union have signed a deal to co-produce five actions films, each budgeted at around $8m, aimed at both China and European markets.

The first of the five films will be Mission Overseas, which follows a Chinese driver who goes to Germany to rescue the kidnapped daughter of his boss. Shooting will start in autumn this year for a late summer 2010 release, according to Joha.

Action Concept has previously had four films released in China as flat-fee imports – Final Contract, Fast Track, The Clown and The Challenge – which CEO Herman Joha said paved the way for the company’s cooperation with Chinese partners.

Asian Union and Ciwen jointly produced action drama The Underdog Knight, directed by Ding Sheng and starring Liu Ye, in 2008.