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Ash boards ‘Surfing’ for Japan’s Gilla Co.

Film series to aim at bridging East-West cultures

British filmmaker Ash will write and direct the feature “Surfing” for Japanese-based production entity Gilla Co.

Xiu Jian will produce for Gilla with Daniel Berger associate producing.

The drama, about an American couple who explore cultural differences as they enter the world of surfing on the Chinese island of Hainan, is skedded to shoot in early 2002. As yet no cast is attached.

“Surfing” will be “the first in a series of films that Xiu Jian and I intend to make together which we hope will continue to bridge the distance between East and West,” Ash said.

Ash, repped by the Gersh Agency, most recently wrote and directed the micro-budgeted indie features “Bang” and “Pups.”

“Bang,” shown on the Sundance Channel and made for $20,000, is a gritty drama centering around a struggling Japanese-American actress (Darling Narita) who experiences empowerment by pretending to be a male cop for a day.

Ash, whose full name is Ashley Baron-Cohen (the cousin of U.K. comedian Sacha Baron-Cohen, aka cult comedy character Ali G), is also attached to direct “Eyes,” based on his original screenplay, for British producer Peter Samuelson.

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