Beijing-based Huayi Brothers Pictures is teaming up with state-owned China Film Group and Tangshan City Government to co-produce disaster drama Tangshan Dadizheng, about the Tangshan Earthquake in 1976.

Feng Xiaogang will direct the $25m drama, which will tell the story of the devastating earthquake that took the lives of over 240,000 people. The story will focus on a young woman's traumatic memory of surviving the earthquake, and her mental struggle throughout many years until 32 years later when she witnessed the May 12 Sichuan earthquake in 2008.

The film will be the most expensive ever directed by Feng who on average spends $10m-$20m on his films. According to Feng, a major part of the budget will be spent on special effects for the disaster scenes.

The project will also mark the first time in four years that Huayi Bros and China Film Group have collaborated on a film production. China Film will mainly take charge of distribution while Huayi Bros and Tangshan City Government will be equity investorsin the film.

The project is now in pre-production and is scheduled to shoot from July until December for release on July 28, 2010, the memorial day of the Tangshan Earthquake.

Korea's MK Pictures, which worked on the make-up and special effects in Feng's war epic Assembly, will again work withthe director on the film's disaster scenes. Technicolor will handle CGI and most of the post-production work of the film.

Feng Xiaogang is seem as one of the most prolific and profitable filmmakers in China. His recent romantic comedy If You Are the One grossed $51.17m (RMB350) in January and became the highest-grossing Chinese-language film in Chinese film history.