Beijing-based productionoutfit Laurel Films, French producer Rosem and French sales house OnomaInternational have struck a three-way agreement to produce and sell a slate ofChinese pictures.
The trio worked together on
"We have formed an openended agreement to produce a slate of films for the Chinese and Asian market,these will be both art-house and commercial," said Bursztejn. "There are manyfactors that put the Chinese theatrical market on course for huge growth in thenext three years," said Fang. "Years of censorship means that the real talentlies at the end of the scale. We aim to unearth them and get them seen by theirhome market.
The financial arrangementssee Laurel and Rosem providing local cash, while Rosem also brings ininvestment from France's Fonds Sud cultural pool and the backing of Europeancultural broadcaster. Onoma will put up minimum guarantees. Initially, budgetswill be kept below $2m. Distribution for the films will be arranged on apicture-by-picture with China's growing band of private sector distributors.
First to shoot is
Next up is the JiangWen-starring Dam Street , a drama which stretches over 20 yearsdirected by Li Yu, who previously made Berlin Forum film Fish And Elephant.
Biggest budget picture onthe slate is the Bursztejn-directed Berlin-Shanghai,an English-language about a Jewish man who escapes the Nazi killings of 1938 bytaking the Trans-Siberian railway to China. It will shoot in late 2005.
Also on the initial slate isthe next Wang Chao, Twice Life, adrama about a woman who pretends to be her amnesiac husband's mistress.