Production cycles are starting to get longer in Hong Kong which was once renowned for its "one-month" movies. As a result, three films scheduled for release during Chinese New Year next January are already in the can and undergoing an unusually lengthy post-production process.

Media Asia's Magic Kitchen and Mandarin Films' In-Laws, Outlaws both wrapped last month while Mythical Films' Silver Hawk has been in post since the beginning of September. Magic Kitchen is a romantic comedy starring Hong Kong's biggest box office draws, Andy Lau and Sammi Cheng, while In-Laws, Outlaws is a family-themed comedy about local boys dating foreign women.

Silver Hawk involves special effects and a much bigger budget than the other two films so is spending an even longer period in post-production. The US$15m action title stars Michelle Yeoh as a masked superheroine taking on a criminal mastermind played by British actor Luke Goss.

As for films which are still shooting, Jackie Chan's new company JCE Movies currently has three films in front of the cameras. New Police Story (working title) stars Chan himself and is directed by Benny Chan (no relation) - a highly-regarded action director with credits including Big Bullet and Gen-X Cops.

JCE is also shooting two films from upcoming directors - Kenneth Bi's dramatic comedy Hainan Chicken Rice and actor Stephen Fung's directorial debut Enter The Phoenix. Hainan Chicken Rice is a Hong Kong-Singapore co-production starring Sylvia Chang and charismatic TV chef Martin Yan.

Meanwhile, Universe Entertainment is emerging as one of Hong Kong's most active producers with around 13 films in various stages of production. These include action comedy Black Roses, starring pop duo Twins and directed by Donnie Yen and Barbara Wong Chun-chun; and action title Heat Team, directed by Dante Lam.

Applause Pictures is currently shooting two sequels. Horror film The Eye II is again directed by the Pang Brothers but doesn't involve characters or cast from the original film. Samson Chiu's comedy Golden Chicken II again stars Sandra Ng and is scheduled for release at Christmas.

Two of the region's top auteurs are also currently shooting their latest films. Wong Kar Wai is working on his long-gestating 2046 in Shanghai while Zhang Yimou is filming House Of Flying Daggers (aka Ambush From Ten Directions) in the Ukraine.

Zhang's film, which stars China's Zhang Ziyi, Hong Kong's Andy Lau and Japan's Takeshi Kaneshiro, is scheduled to move to China this month and continue shooting until January.

Wong's film, which has been in and out of production for four years, is scheduled to move to Hong Kong in two weeks time and wrap before the end of the year.