Korea's CJ Entertainment has boarded the Focus: First Cuts series of films,launched by Hong Kong star Andy Lau's Focus Films, as a project partnerand will distribute all six films in Korea from early 2007.

Focus and CJ are also intalks about the next instalment of the project, Focus: First Cuts Volume 2,which is targeted to launch in the middle of 2007. The two companies previouslyworked together as co-producers on Thai director Pen-ek Ratanaruang's stylishnoir Invisible Waves.

"It's amazing how well theindustry, media and audiences have responded to the films of Focus: First Cutsand we are proud to be working once again with CJ Entertainment on a regionalproject," said Focus Films COO Daniel Yu.

Designed to support newtalent, the First Cuts initiative features six Chinese-language HD films fromup-and-coming filmmakers from China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Taiwan and Singapore. Star Chinese Movies is also a partner in theproject.

Partly in recognition of thesuccess of the initiative, Lau is being honoured as Asian Filmmaker of the Yearat the Pusan International Film Festival (PIFF) which gets underway today (Oct12).

The first film from Focus:First Cuts, Taiwanese director Robin Lee's TheShoe Fairy, competed in the New Currents section of PIFF last year.

This year, four of thetitles will screen in official selection at PIFF: Love Story, from Singapore director Kelvin Tong; Malaysian director Ho Yuhang'sRain Dogs; My Mother Is A Belly Dancer, from Hong Kong's Lee Kung Lok, and Chinese director Ning Hao's Crazy Stone, which is closing the festival.

The second film from theseries to be produced, Lam Tze Chung's I'llCall You, was the closing film of the Hong Kong Asia Film Financing Forum, immediatelyahead of its Hong Kong release earlier this year.