Los Angeles-based FilmEngine is to set up an Asia joint venture in Taiwan, with Taiwan’s Hsu Po-yun, founding partner of New Aspect Cultural Foundation and executive board for Federation for Asian Cultural Promotion (FACP). 

The new company, to be called FilmEngine Asia/Orient will produce a slate of 12 films in the next five years, according to Hsu at a press conference held in Taipei today.

The 12 films include four Chinese-language films. Those are Formosa Koxinga, a historical drama about Ming Dynasty commander Zheng Chenggong defeating the Dutch East India Company in Taiwan in the 17th Century. Poon Tuck Ming, a biopic about the first Chinese man to walk around the globe in the 1940s. My Candy Store will be an animated film about a candy store in a US town set up jointly by a Chinese, an European and a US citizen. The Legend of Cricket Fu will be another animated film set in 1405 in Nanjing, about a group of fighting crickets battling one another for the map to the treasures.

As for non-Chinese films, the slate includes Marilyn, a story adapted from the memoir of LA forensic doctor Lionel Grandison about Marilyn Monroe’s death; and 10 percent, a black comedy written by David McKenna.

According to Hsu, Taiwan will be a priority shooting location for the Chinese-related films, and a possible choice for the non-Chinese projects.   Estimated budget of the 12-film slate will be around $357m (NT$10 billion).

Hsu, a musician and owner of one of Taiwan’s largest cultural events management companies, has organised more than 10,000 concerts or exhibitions since 1978, including the Pixar Animation 20 Years Exhibition in 2009, which attracted 500,000 visitors.

Taipei-based analysts said the improved film financing environment, and the ECFA (Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement) with China, under which Taiwanese films can be imported to China without restriction, has encouraged interests of US companies to work with Taiwan.