A live-actiontake on popular animated character McDull, martial arts legend Huo Yuanjia and a comedy about shopping are set to battle itout in Hong Kong and other Chinese-speaking territories next Chinese New Year.

Peter Ho-sun Chanand McDull creator Brian Tseare producing McDull, The Alumni,which combines live-action and animated sequences to recount what happens tothe optimistic piglet when he becomes an adult. Samson Chiu, whose creditsinclude hit comedy Golden Chicken andits sequel, is directing while Hong Kong stars including Sandra Ng, RonaldCheng, Kelly Chen and Chen Bo-linhave joined the live-action cast.

The first two McDull animatedfeatures - My Life AsMcDull and McDull, Prince De La Bun - were both critical successes and distributedoverseas despite their heavy use of local humour andslang.

Also set forrelease over the Chinese New Year holiday are Ronny Yu's action epic Fearless, starring Jet Li and featuringa special appearance by Michelle Yeoh, and China Starcomedy Shopaholics,directed by Wai Ka-fai andstarring Cecilia Cheung and Lau Ching-wan.

Fearless, the latest production from dynamo Hong Kong producer Bill Kong, is based on the true story of martial arts legend Huo Yuanjia. Focus Features has aslew of Western rights.

All these filmsare also aiming for release in mainland China and other Chinese-speakingterritories over the holiday which falls on Jan 29 in 2006. But Chinese NewYear is not the guaranteed pot of gold that it used to be for Chinese-languagemovies. Local productions used to dominate this period, when traditionallyChinese families go to the cinema together, but this year Pixaranimation The Incredibleswas by far the biggest hit over the Chinese New Year holiday in Hong Kong.

Also, the growinginfluence of the mainland market means that Hong Kong producers are targetingother holidays in addition to Chinese New Year. China has three week-long holidays - ChineseNew Year (known as Spring Festival in the mainland), LabourDay at the beginning of May and National Day at the beginning of October. Allthree of these "Golden Weeks" are considered peak box office seasons and, inrecent years, some Hong Kong companies have elected to roll out their biggestguns at the end of September.

During the recentNational Day holiday, Jackie Chan blockbuster The Myth was released across Chinese-speaking territories alongwith Media Asia's Wait 'Til You're Older and StanleyKwan's Everlasting Regret. Althoughit usually produces a film for Chinese New Year, Media Asia has nothing plannedfor the 2006 holiday and is focused instead on releasing Alan Mak and Felix Chong's Moonlight In Tokyoon Dec 29.

Likewise,Beijing-based Huayi Brothers, which used to roll outa Feng Xiaogang blockbusterevery Chinese New Year has nothing scheduled for next year's holiday. Insteadit plans to release A Chinese Tall Story, a co-production with Hong Kong'sEmperor Motion Pictures, this Christmas and Feng'snew film The Banquet, a co-production with Media Asia, in December 2006.

Now that HongKong producers are targeting almost every production at both the Hong Kong andmainland markets, Screen Internationalhas expanded its production listings to include mainland Chinese productions. Alarge proportion of these are co-productions with Hong Kong, while others -such as Ann Hui's ThePostmodern Life Of My Aunt starring Chow Yun-fat - involve Hong Kong directors and talent althoughthere's no Hong Kong investment involved. The lines between Hong Kong andChinese production are now so blurred that it's become almost meaningless toview them as separate production centres.

But that doesn'tmean that both China and Hong Kong aren't working with many other territories.The listings below also include Hong Kong films co-produced with Japan, SouthKorea, Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia and Chinese films co-produced with theUS, Taiwan, Finland and France. These include films such as The White Phoenix which involves Chineseand French investment, a US producer and scriptwriter and a director from HongKong.

As the listingsdemonstrate, Chinese film-makers are increasingly becoming part of aninternational production industry where national borders have much lesssignificance than big-name stars, directors with a proven track record andstories that can travel.

For full Hong andChina listings, clickhere