Sundream Motion Pictures, the new film venture of Hong Kong's pay TVoperator i-CABLE Communication, officially launched today at Filmart.

Sundream plans to finance 15-20 feature films with a total investment of$38.5m (HK$300m) over two years.

Tsui Siu Ming, executive director, programming services ofi-CABLE subsidiary Hong Kong Cable TV, will head the new company as president.

Its debut slateincludes a mega budget US$20m about Cao Cao, the ruler of Northern Chinaaround 200.A.D.

Tsui is attachedas director with Oscar winning cinematographer Peter Pau as director ofphotography. The historical epic marks the return of Tsui to filmmaking - hedirected several films in the 1980s and early 1990s (Holy Robe of theShaolin Temple, Mirage) before becoming a senior management executive inthe cable TV sector.

Also on the slateis a $600,000 untitled cop drama produced by Johnnie To and directed by Yau NaiHoi, the Golden Horse winning scriptwriter of To's PTU.

'Hong Kong CableTV spends tens of millions of HK dollars on acquiring 200-300 films for itsthree movie channels every year. If we make our own films, the rights belong tous and we don't have to pay for them. But most importantly, we have bettercontrol over the film's quality. In the long term, we can also build a filmlibrary which will become an important asset,' Tsui said.

Bill Kong's EdkoFilms will handle the theatrical release of the films as well as worldwidesales.