Netherlands-based Cyrte Investments and China Film Group are backing John Woo’s long-gestating Flying Tigers, which is set to shoot next year as two-part feature film and six-hour television series.

The project, based on the true story of a group of American pilots who volunteered to fight alongside their Chinese counterparts during WWII, will be released theatrically in greater China as a two-part film, and made into a drama miniseries for distribution in the rest of the world.

The announcement was made during the Beijing International Film Festival at a signing ceremony attended by Cyrte CEO Frank Botman, CFG chairman Han Sanping and Woo.

Woo and his long-time producing partner Terence Chang will produce the films and TV miniseries under their Lion Rock Productions banner. 

Cyrte, an investment boutique specialising in media, entertainment, telecoms and technology with Euros2bn under management, is a backer of Exclusive Media, Endemol and Zodiak Media Group. In a statement, Cyrte said it would work with Exclusive Media “to assist with the project” but didn’t specify whether it would be handling sales of the film or miniseries.

Flying Tigers is a project that I have always wanted to do, because this is a story that expresses the courage, resourcefulness, friendship, and spirit of both the Chinese and American people and pilots. It promotes friendship between the two nations,” said Woo. 

Chinese state-owned studio China Film Group was involved in the development of the project. “We believe that the collaboration between CFG, John Woo, Terence Chang and Cyrte Investments allows us to showcase the charm of Chinese-made films in a more diversified and appealing way to the global audience,” said Han Sanping.

Lion Rock is also producing Woo’s next directing project, an as-yet-untitled romantic epic which starts shooting next month with backing from Beijing Galloping Horse and Zhang Ziyi and Song Hye-kyo in the ensemble cast.