New York-based Emerging Pictures is teaming with China Film and two Hong Kong companies - Media Asia and the Chinachem property group - to co-produce Fei, the second feature from mainland-born director-producer Ann Hu.

The film, which started shooting in China last week, features Chinese stars Zhou Xun (Hollywood Hong Kong) and Wang Zhi Wen along with Los Angeles-based actors Vivian Wu and Lisa Lu.

The screenplay was written by US writers Beth Schacter and Michael Eldridge and translated into Chinese during the development process. Hu will also produce alongside Emerging Pictures president Ira Deutchman.

Hu, one of the first students to leave China after the Cultural Revolution, studied at New York University before becoming a filmmaker. Her first feature, Shadow Magic, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2000 and was acquired for US release by Sony Pictures Classics.

Fei is scheduled to shoot for eight weeks in Qingdao, Beijing and Xiamen. Set in 1948, the story follows two sisters - Fei and Ying - whose father was a legendary fireworks maker and who share a love for a charismatic ex-wrestler Huang.

Emerging Pictures is involved in production, distribution and artist management and is also developing a network of digital cinemas in the US. Fei is the first project the company has overseen from initial idea to production.