Hong Kong star Andy Lau has established a new company, Focus Films, which will be involved in the co-financing, distribution and acquisition of both local and international films.
The new outfit is part of a major restructuring of Lau's business interests which span production, distribution and artist management. Focus Films is part of the wider Focus Group Holdings, which also includes artist management arm Topman Global and intellectual property arm Topman Holdings. Lau's existing company Teamwork Motion Pictures will concentrate on production.
Former Teamwork distribution manager Esther Koo has been appointed general manager of Focus Films. "We're looking to acquire high-quality films to distribute in Hong Kong but we're also interested in co-financing opportunities in which we can take multiple territories," Koo told ScreenDaily.com. "We'll also be selling the library of films produced by Teamwork, along with new productions."
Koo is currently deciding whether to attend Mifed or make an international bow at next year's AFM. Launched in 1994, Teamwork has recent production credits including Daniel Lee's A Fighter's Blues and Johnnie To's Fulltime Killer, both of which starred Lau. Both films were a box office success in Hong Kong and were acquired for distribution in the US.
However, Teamwork was bogged down by litigation last year, when Lau's partner in the company - CCT Telecom Holdings - sued the star for alleged breach of contract. The two sides eventually settled out of court and Lau bought out CCT's interests in the company.
Teamwork previously handled international sales of its own and some third-party productions, but the new company aims to be much more aggressive in co-financing and distribution. "We will constantly seek opportunities to finance or co-finance films from promising directors with brilliant ideas," said Koo.
Andy Lau is one of Hong Kong's biggest stars and has a busy schedule. He is currently filming the third instalment in the Infernal Affairs franchise and romantic comedy Magic Kitchen, both for Media Asia.
In the next few weeks he heads up to the Ukraine to work on Zhang Yimou's Shi Mian Maifu (Ten Sided Ambush) with Zhang Ziyi, Takeshi Kineshiro and Anita Mui.