Premier Hong Kong studio Media Asia has picked upinternational sales rights to Cell Phone, the most recent film by one ofChina's most accomplished directors' Feng Xiaogang. The smash hit complementsthe group's burgeoning star-driven production slate which is unveiled atCannes.
Cell Phone, a light-hearted drama about thea TV chat show host (Cannes acting prize-winner Ge You) whose complicated lovelife is both enabled and undone by his mobile phone, was the biggest local filmof last year in China taking $7m (RMB 53m) and was one of the hits of lastmonth's Udine festival of Far Eastern Film.
Media Asia is a co-investor in Feng's next film A WorldWithout Thieves and in Cannes is opening it for international sales. Inpre-production now, it tells the story of a Bonnie and Clyde-like couple whoswindle their way across the country until they are confronted by a train-fullof crooks bigger than themselves. "We have every reason to think this will bebigger still, not least because of the cast," said Jeffrey Chan, head of salesat Media Asia. The film features superstar Andy Lau, Rene Liu and Ge You.
Production is gets underway this month on Initial D,the company's long-awaited race-car thriller. The $8m picture, an adaptation ofa Japanese comic series, is now finally confirmed as being directed by Alan Makand Andrew Lau (no relation), the writing-directing team responsible for MediaAsia's Infernal Affairs sensation. It features another glittering castof Jay Chou, Edison Chen, Shawn Yue, Anthony Wong and Anne Suzuki. Although thefilm has yet to shoot, a major Japanese deal is expected to close by the end ofthe festival.
The company is also unveiling Yesterday Once More, a$4m Johnnie To-directed drama about a woman who suspects her former husband ofstealing the fortune of her new man-to-be. It stars Sammi Cheng and Andy Lau.