The Canada CFTI Media Group (CCMG) and Movie Plus Canada have signed a long-term deal to finance and produce up to three studio-level features a year.

Christopher Brough, Demi Zhang, Ralph Zondag

First to go will be a $25m 3D animated version of classic Chinese story The Monkey King alongside China’s Pearl River Film Group, with whom Movie Plus and CCMG recently signed a deal.

Brothers and veteran animators Ralph (pictured at right) and Dick Zondag will direct and CCMG president, filmmaker and actress Xiao Min Zhang (aka Demi Zhang, pictured in centre) will serve as executive producer with Movie Plus CEO Christopher Brough (pictured at left) serving as producer.

The production will take advantage of the Pearl River animation team’s knowledge, while the Chinese partners aim to benefit from Hollywood’s production expertise and global connections.

Zhang and Movie Plus Canada are also lining up a number of Chinese versions of films such as The Godfather and D-Day6.6.1944.

“Having grown up in the Chinese film industry, I am passionate about taking these culturally rooted stories and taking them to worldwide audiences, while also giving China an opportunity to sit on the international stage when it comes to film and animation,” said Zhang.

“Our intent is not the change the story, but to refocus and reframe it in a western style of storytelling,” said Brough of The Monkey King. “We are taking original China contact and still honouring the story but blending it with modern-looking characters, accessible storytelling and a more dynamic way of directing.”