Fox Searchlight Pictures has signed a three-picture deal withaward-winning Hong Kong director-writer-producer Wong Kar Wai and his productionoutfit Block 2 Films.

Under the terms of the deal, Block 2 and Searchlight willco-finance and co-distribute a minimum of three English-language films thatWong and Block 2 will produce. Wong will select the directors and supervise thescreenwriters on each project.

Claudia Lewis, executive vice president of production for FoxSearchlight, will oversee the projects on Searchlight's behalf.

Commenting on the deal, Fox Searchlight Pictures president PeterRice said: "Wong Kar Wai has a gift for creating films that transcendcultural boundaries. We enter this partnership with boundless enthusiasm and acommitment to bring groundbreaking, visionary works to the screen."

Wong Kar Wai said: "Fox Searchlight is an admirable andpositive force in the global film industry because they are not afraid to pushthe envelope. I see this as a great opportunity to develop projects togetherand bring new currents to our respective audiences."

Wong, a festival favourite who is considered one of the world'stop auteurs, made his directing debut in 1988 with As Tears Go By. He has since directed seven films including such critically acclaimed works as ChungkingExpress, Happy Together and In The Mood For Love.

He is currently in post-production on 2046, starring, amongst others, Tony LeungChiu-wai, Maggie Cheung, Faye Wong and Zhang Ziyi. He also recently directedone part of the three-segment film Eros, with Steven Soderbergh and Michelangelo Antonionidirecting the other two parts.

Wong founded Block 2 to produce high-quality English-languagefilms for the international market. The company sometimes acts as distributorof its own films, in addition to other films it acquires, depending on thebudget and marketing. Wong also has another production company, Jet ToneProductions, which is currently shooting Chinese-language comedy Subway,directed by Joe Ma and based on the book by Taiwanese illustrator Jimmy Liao.