Fortissimo Film Sales has picked up international rights to Sunflower, the next picture from Chinese director Zhang Yang, which Peter Loehr is producing through his Los Angeles and Beijing-based production company Ming Productions.

China's Asian Union Film and Singapore's Raintree Pictures are co-financing the $1.9m film which is currently being cast and is scheduled to start shooting this September.

Fortissimo co-chairs, Wouter Barendrecht and Michael Werner, will also executive produce. Fortissimo sold Zhang's previous three films - Quitting, Shower and Spicy Love Soup - which were box office hits in China and scooped several prizes on the festival circuit.

Set in Beijing, Sunflower follows the story of a typical Chinese family from the Cultural Revolution to the present day. "It focuses on the issues that Chinese people deal with day to day," said Loehr.

Asian Union Film, headed by Dong Ping, was one of the co-producers behind Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and also produced Jiang Wen's Devils On The Doorstep.

Raintree, owned by Singapore's MediaCorp, is the territory's most active producer and recently scored hits with Jack Neo's I Not Stupid and the Pang Brothers' The Eye, a co-production with Hong Kong's Applause Pictures