Hong Kong has selected Gordon Chan's fantasy epic Painted Skin as the territory's contender for this year's foreign-language Oscar, the Federation of Motion Film Producers of Hong Kong (FMFP) said at a press conference on Wednesday.

'We think this film has something very special,' FMFP chairman Crucindo Hung said. 'It is a very interesting portrayal of Chinese culture that is different to the usual.'

The film, starring Donnie Yen, Zhou Xun, Vicky Zhao Wei, Chen Kun, Sun Li and Singapore star Qi Yuwu, is a remake of a 1965 Hong Kong production of the same title, which tells the story of a scholar's love affair with a beautiful woman who turns out to be a bloodthirsty demoness.

The film was originally scheduled to be released on Oct 2 in Hong Kong, but had its release date moved to Sept 24 in order to qualify as an Oscar contender, by being released for at least seven days in the territory before Oct 1.

Meanwhile, the film is to be released in mainland China, Singapore and Thailand on Sept 26. In China, Painted Skin will enjoy a large-scale release with around 1,100 screens on the opening day.

According to Hung, the federation had been considering Peter Ho-Sun Chan's martial arts drama The Warlords and Benny Chan's crime thriller Connected. But Painted Skin won out because of its special fantasy elements.

The film is produced by China's Ningxia Film Studio, Singapore's MediaCorp Raintree Pictures and Hong Kong's Salon Media Management and backed by Hong Kong's Golden Sun, Shanghai Film Group, Beijing New Film Association and Beijing Ding Long Da Media Ltd. Eastern Mordor, which was formed by the above investors of the film, handles international sales of the film.