Japanese actress Meisa Kuroki (Crows: Episode 0) is headlining the cast of pan-Asian production Subaru, it was announced at a weekend press conference in Shanghai.

Bill Kong (Lust, Caution) is producing the project for Japan 's Avex Group Holdings and its affiliate, Seoul-based SM Entertainment, with Lee Chi-ngai (Magic Kitchen) writing and directing. SM Entertainment and Avex are also jointly handling the film's soundtrack.

SM Entertainment talent Ara also stars, with a supporting cast including Kaori Momoi (Sukiyaki Western Django) as Kuroki's mentor, and Miku Sano in her film debut.

Based on a popular Japanese manga by Masato Soda, Subaru is the story of a teenaged girl (Kuroki) who strives to become a world-famous ballerina. The manga series has sold 1.8 million copies across Japan.

The film represents the first major effort between Japan 's Avex and Korea 's SM Entertainment for pan-Asian co-productions, which they detailed at last month's Asian Film Market. The partners plan to assemble 'Asian Dream Teams' of producers, investors and talent on a project-by-project basis.

Recording giant Avex entered the feature film arena in 2005, investing in high profile productions including Vexille and Genghis Khan (which also featured Ara).

Founded in 1994 by Lee Soo Man, SM Entertainment became Korea 's largest music label and now has interests in karaoke (SM Bravo), internet contents (SM Online) and Japan and China branches under SM Asia. SM Pictures was established this June to produce motion pictures.

Subaru is set for a pan-Asian release in 2009.