Chinese filmmaker Zhang Yimou is joining the trend to make a tribute film celebrating the 60th anniversary of the People's Republic of China (PRC).

During his attendanceat the annual National People's Congress, Zhang told China's CCTV that he is working on several scripts and hopes to start shooting this year.

He also confirmed that he will direct the National Day Fireworks Gala on Oct 1, the day of the 60th anniversary. Last year, Zhang served as the chief director for the opening and closing ceremonies of the Beijing Olympic Games.

Zhang's new film will be one of many so-called 'tribute films' for the country's birthday. Starting from the beginning of 2009, many of China's state-owned studios, including China Film Group, Shanghai Film Group and Zhujiang Film Studio, have started shooting films celebrating the history of communist China.

Among them, the most star-studded is China Film Group's The Great Cause Of China's Foundation (Jian Guo Da Ye). The $4.39m (RMB30m) film will be co-directed by Huang Jianxin and China Film Group chairman Han Sanping, with Ge You, Zhang Guoli, Andy Lau andVivian Wu starring at a discounted rate. More thanten films are now being produced specifically for the national celebration.

Films with historical backdrops that were not originally designed for the celebration have now been chosen to pay tribute to the national birthday. Huayi Brothers' Twilight, a film about Chinese spies fighting against Japanese occupation, has been selected by its co-production company Shanghai Film Group as a tribute film.

The tribute films are scheduled to be released in October. Industry players expect the latter half of 2009 will be a crowded film market in mainland China.