Hong Kong starAndy Lau's Focus Films plans to finance a series of six high definition (HD)features from up-and-coming Asian filmmakers, as part of a drive to bring newtalent into the Chinese-language film industry.

The regionalproject, "Focus: First Cuts", was unveiled today at Hong Kong's FilMart. Focuswill oversee production and international sales of all six features which areintended for HD projection in cinemas and home video release. Star ChineseMovies Network has exclusive pay-TV rights for Asia, excluding Japan, Korea andThailand.

All six featureswill be Chinese-language but the directors will hail from different parts ofthe Chinese-speaking world. Each feature will be shot in the director's homemarket using local cast and crew.

Directorsselected for the initiative so far include Hong Kong's Wong Ching Po and LeeKung Lok, who will direct a project together, Hong Kong's Lam Tze Chung,Malaysia's Ho Yuhang, Singapore's Kelvin Tong and Taiwan's Robin Lee. Focus isstill searching for a suitable director from mainland China.

Focus plans toinvest a minimum of US$3.2m (HK$25m) in the initiative. "But it depends on thecast of each project. We may have to top up budgets if big names are attached,"says Focus COO Daniel Yu.

Launched in 2003,Focus is involved in production and co-financing, acquisitions andinternational sales. The company has a mission to support new filmmakingtalent, in addition to bigger-budget projects, and last year co-financed WongChing Po's second feature Jiang Hu.

More recently,the company has invested in Feng Xiaogang's A World Without Thieves andPen-ek Ratanaruang's Invisible Waves which is currently shooting inThailand, Hong Kong and Macau. The company is also developing anas-yet-untitled project to be directed by Johnnie To and star Lau.