Leading Korean investor/distributor CJ Entertainment has announced it has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with China 's largest film company, China Film Group, to co-produce Tibet-set drama Tangka.

The film will be directed by Jacob Cheung who most recently directed pan-Asian co-production A Battle Of Wits , starring Andy Lau. The script is being written by Liu Hong, who wrote Assembly, the opening film at this year's Pusan International Film Festival.

The story revolves around a Tang Dynasty princess who is married off to a Tibetan king and takes Chinese culture to Tibet. The word 'tangka' refers to the Tibetan hanging scrolls depicting Buddhist stories.

Tangka is currently under-going script adjustments, and the producers plan to start shooting in March 2008, aiming for a Chinese New Year's release in 2009.

The co-production deal is part of a wider agreement between CJ and China Film to become strategic partners on film co-productions, which was announced at this year's Shanghai International Film Festival (Screendaily, June 21).

Separately to the Tangka deal, CJ has also signed up for China Film's project to discover and cultivate new Chinese directors, which was recently announced at the Beijing Screenings (Screendaily, Sep 21).

Led by China Film, the scheme also involves Sony Pictures from the US and Hong Kong 's Media Asia and Emperor Motion Pictures. The five companies will put newfound directors through three steps to make it to feature film distribution.

The project will give a selection of new directors the opportunity to make a digital or made-for-TV film for RMB600,000-800,000. Directors who pass this trial stage will then be given RMB2-2.5m for a HD film production, and the one director who makes it through this stage will be given RMB6-10m to direct a feature film which will be released in China.