Taiwanese Joint Entertainment and China’s Enterprising Dragon Entertainment unveiled romantic comedy co-production, due to shoot in Taipei, Paris and provincial Chinese city of Chongqing, to European producers at Paris Project.

In a sign of the increasing economic and cultural ties between Taiwan and mainland China, Taipei-based Joint Entertainment and Beijing’s Enterprising Dragon Entertainment are developing a romantic comedy tailor-made for mainland China, Joint’s James Liu has revealed.

The tale of an impoverished, young man who eschews the advances of a wealthy female suitor in order to pursue his ambitions to become a top chef, Taiwanese director Fen Fen Cheng (Keeping Watch) is writing the script and will direct a cast of mainland China actors, popular with audiences there.

“It’s a new business model for us… a handful of Taiwanese companies have tried to do it in the past but it’s very hard… the key is to find a good and trustworthy Chinese co-producer. I’ve known Sunday for more than ten years… we met through Farewell My Concubine,  lost contact for a while  but then hooked up again a couple of years ago at HAF,” explained Liu, referring to Enterprising Dragon chief Sunday Sun.

“We feel the time is ripe for a co-production like this… especially given what’s going on economically and politically between China and Taiwan in the backdrop,” added Liu, in France for a special Taipei-Paris workshop at the Paris Project co-production platform this week, aimed at fostering cooperation between Taiwanese and French filmmakers.

Marry Go Round is partly set in Paris and Liu is also hoping to raise a small part of the film’s €1.25 million budget in France. 

“The film is specifically targeted at mainland China so it wouldn’t make sense to try to export it elsewhere but it might interest somebody trying to break into the Chinese market,” says Liu. “We might also get finance through product placement with one of the big French brands. The film is about weddings, food and luxury so it’s perfect for that.”

The joint project is a sign of increasing cultural exchange between mainland China and the island territory of Taiwan, established by defeated anti-communists fighters led by Chiang Kai-shek in 1949 and at loggerheads with mainland China for more than 50 years.

In June, 2010, China and Taiwan signed an Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) aimed at fostering trade. Liu said that producers on both sides of the Taiwan Straits were looking at how the treaty could also be applied to film production.

American-Taiwanese Arvin Chen (Au Revoir Taipei), who won a Silver Bear at Berlin for his short film Mei in 2006, also presented his upcoming film Afternoon Delight. The tale of a formerly, openly gay man, settled into a heterosexual marriage with children, agonizing over whether he should come out about this homosexuality once again, is being produced by Taipei-based Atom Cinema.