Former Gaga Communications acquisitions chief Kaz Tadashiki has joined Movie-Eye Entertainment as president and CEO.

Together with COO Taku Ushiyama, another Gaga veteran, Tadashiki plans to reposition Movie-Eye, whose core business since its April 2000 start has been film promotion, as a production, distribution and talent management company.

To support its relaunch, the company has raised Y235 million ($2 million) in new capital. In addition to Tadashiki and Ushiyama, its shareholders are now Imagica, Amusement Media Academy and Kyowa Corrugated Cardboard.

Under Tadashiki's leadership Movie-Eye has already become active in its three new business areas. With backing from Shochiku, Office Two-One, TV Tokyo, Dentsu, Satellite Theatre and Shanghai Film Studio, Movie-Eye is making Last Love, First Love, a Japan-China co-production.

Directed by Hisashi Toma and starring Atsuro Watabe, Xu Jinglei (I Love You) and Jie Dong (Happy Time), Last Love, First Love is a romantic drama about a Japanese salaryman in Shanghai who falls in love with two women, one of whom is terminally ill.

Scheduled for completion in August, the film will premiere at this year's Tokyo International Film Festival prior to its release in the Shochiku chain for the New Year's holiday season. It will open in China at the same time.

Movie-Eye is also distributing Yee Chin-yen's Blue Gate Crossing, a Taiwanese-French co-production that was screened in the Directors Fortnight at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival. The film will open at Tokyo's Chante Cine theatre on July 26 and roll out to other theatres in major cities.

Finally Movie-Eye is representing Chen Bo-lin, a Taiwanese actor who starred in Blue Gate Crossing, and Xu Jinglei, a Chinese actress who stars in Last Love, First Love.

"There are companies in Japan that distribute, ones that produce and ones that manage talent, but none make all three their main businesses," commented Tadashiki.

Movie-Eye also plans to stand out from the pack by making international co-productions, starting with Asian partners and branching out to Hollywood and the rest of the world.

As a buyer and distributor it will focus on independent films from Asia, North America and Europe with a wide audience appeal. "We plan to distribute about ten films our first year -- three of our own and seven from other companies," comments Tadashiki.

While serving as an acquisitions executive at Gaga, Tadashiki was involved in several co-production deals, including one with Namco and Crystal Sky of the US for a film based on the Namco game Tekken and one with Capcom and Metropolitan of France for a film based on the Capcom game Onimusha. "At Movie-Eye we intend to develop similar properties, based on Japanese comics, animation and games, for production with international partners," Takashiki said.