The Era Of Vampires, Fortissimo Films Sales' (FFS) first venture into Hong Kong film production has been sold to Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group for worldwide distribution, excluding Italy, Singapore, Malaysia and some smaller territories.

The $3m actioner, (pictured) which was shot on locations throughout China, was produced by Hong Kong filmmaker Tsui Hark and directed by Wellson Chin and is the first in a series of films expected to be financed through Fortissimo's developing relationship with the Royal Bank of Scotland.

"Columbia had been pursuing The Era Of Vampires since Cannes last year but we agreed not to announce their involvement until the film's financing and production were completed," stated Fortissimo's co-chairman, Michael Werner. "With this film we are hoping to develop a franchise which lends itself to exploitation through sequels and additional media forms."

Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group acquired worldwide rights to the film excluding Italy, which was pre-sold to Mediaset, Singapore & Malaysia which were sold to the Cathay Organization and several additional minor markets. Film Workshop retains distribution rights for Hong Kong and China. The film is set for delivery in May for an Autumn 2002 release.