Veteran Italian producer Leo Pescarolo has sealed two landmark multi-million dollar international co-production deals with China and Canada.
Fred Wang of Hong Kong's Salon Media Films has taken a 50% stake in the $18m English-language fantasy tale She, which Pescarolo developed through his Rome-based development outfit Imago Film.
Salon Media Films, a facilities outfit involved in services and production, is owned by Salon Films, which recently signed a major joint venture deal with Warner Bros. to co-produce 10 Mandarin-language TV movies with Century Hero and Hainan White Horse Advertising Media Co.
Pescarolo is producing with Massimo Pacilio for Italy's Movieweb, under a two-picture joint-venture deal he signed with the Rome-based Italian company, which is managed and funded by the Livolsi convergence fund.
Originally titled Jamil, The Last Goddess, She is loosely based on H.Rider Haggard's adventure about an immortal woman who is inspired by immortal love.
"[Salon] really liked the screenplay and asked us if we could transpose the story, which was initially set in Africa, to China. The four screenwriters - Fausto Brizzi, Marco Martani, Aldo Lado and Mauro Borrelli - put their heads together and managed to do it," said Pescarolo, who is also a co-producer (in association with Alfredo Cuomo, amongst others) on Lars von Trier's upcoming Dogville.
She is backed by Italy's Rai Cinema and co-produced by Wang, France's Eric Altmayer of Mandarin Films, and Germany's Christoph Meyer-Wiel of Germany's CMW Film Company. Pescarolo is also in talks with potential UK partners.
In addition, David Sheldon of the US's FFS (Film Financial Services) is contributing $12m towards P&A costs for the picture's distribution in the US. In Italy, the film will be released by 01 Distribution, Rai Cinema's distribution label.
The movie will be directed by Italian-American Mauro Borrelli, a visual artist whose many Hollywood credits include widely-acclaimed work on Sleepy Hollow, The Godfather III, Baron Munchausen, and films by Warren Beatty and Ang Lee.
Shooting on the special effects-heavy movie will start at the end of July for 12 weeks in Hong Kong, Shanghai, the Gobi Desert, and Cambridge, England, where part of the film is set. "Low below-the-line costs are one of the advantages of shooting in China," Pescarolo told Screen International.
Post-production will take place in China for special effects, and the UK for sound editing.
Pescarolo's second major deal is with Canada's Pieter Kroonenburg and Gary Howsam who are boarding Hollywood-set movie Moneyflies in another 50-50 co-production deal.
Backed by Rai Cinema, the $6m English-language film is again produced by Pescarolo and Pacilio for Movieweb, as well as Canada's Moneyflies Entertainment (specifically set up for the film) and the UK's Jamie Brown of Studio 8.
Moneyflies, which Pescarolo describes as a "fresh adventure full of action and dramatic turns" follows two Italians who end up in LA. Scripted by Gino Ventriglia, Chiara Laudani, Roberto Scarpetti, Alessandro Fabbri, Fabio Segatori, Aldo Lado and Allan Moyle, the picture is set in modern-day LA and based on a novel by Alessandro Fabbri, Mosche A Hollywood.
The film will start shooting in LA and Toronto at the end of June, under the direction of Italy's Fabio Segatori.
Italian distribution rights will be handled by 01 Distribution.