Hong Kong director Stanley Kwan is gearing up to shoot Chinese-language musical Energy Behind The Heart (working title) in Shanghai, with a top-flight cast and crew including DoP Christopher Doyle.

William Chang Suk-ping has been recruited as art director of the film about a group of drama school graduates struggling to survive in show business. 

Four young actors from Shanghai Drama Academy will head the cast, while leading stars Carina Lau, Hu Jun, Li Bingbing and Deng Chao will provide guest performances. Production is scheduled to start on June 20.

Investors in the film include Shanghai-based artist management and film investment company Starlight Media, state-owned Shanghai Film Group and Beijing-based Asia Pacific China Films.

Established in early 2009, Asia Pacific China Films has shareholders in hotel, real estate and energy businesses. Its sister company, Asia Pacific Entertainment Investment, has a film and TV investment fund of $29.28m (RMB200m).

Beijing Polybona Film Distribution will handle mainland distribution of Energy Behind The Heart, while Hong Kong-based Golden Scene is likely to handle international sales, according to Kwan.

Meanwhile, Kwan’s previously announced Bangkok-set project He Is, He Isn’t has changed investors from Beijing-based J.A. Media to another Beijing film company, Zong Tang Culture. Kwan said he hopes to start shooting the $4.4m (RMB30m) film after Energy Behind The Heart.