Chinahas selected He Ping's epic adventure tale, Warriors Of Heaven And Earth, as its official entry for the foreign-language categoryof the Academy Awards.

Co-producedby Columbia Pictures Film Production Asia, Huayi Brothers & Taihe FilmInvestment Co and Xian Film Studio, the film stars leading Chinese actors JiangWen and Zhao Wei (Vicky Zhao), along with Japanese star Nakai Kiichi.

Cinematographyis by Zhao Fei, with whom He Ping previously worked on Red Firecracker,Green Firecracker. The score is byleading Bollywood composer AR Rahman (Lagaan). The film is scheduled to open in China on October1.

Filmedin the deserts of western China, Warriors tells the story of a rebellious officer and an imperial bounty hunterordered to kill him, who are forced to travel together across the Gobi Desertto deliver a valuable treasure to the Emperor.

"HePing's Warriors Of Heaven And Earthwas one of the first projects we decided to develop when we established ourlocal production entity here in East Asia and we are thrilled and honoured thatit has been chosen by China to represent the country for Academyconsideration," said Columbia Asia managing director Barbara Robinson.

ColumbiaAsia also co-produced Ang Lee's Oscar-winning Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

HePing is known as the pioneer of the "Chinese western" - adaptations of literaryepics set in China's vast and unpopulated western territories. His previouswesterns include Swordsman Of Double Flag Town and Sun Valley.

Warriors will be distributed by Xiying & Huayi FilmDistribution Co in China and by Columbia TriStar in the rest of the world.