China, H.K. team for pics

SFS Emperor Cultural Development Co. kicks off

SHANGHAI — Hong Kong’s Emperor Motion Pictures Group and China’s Shanghai Film Studios, part of the powerful Shanghai Media Group, have formed a joint venture spanning movie production and talent management.

Its two backers have given the New China-registered operation, SFS Emperor Cultural Development Co., some starting capital to cover overhead and initial production investment. SFS’ Wang Tin-yun and EMP general manager Philip Chan will head the shingle, which aims to produce five features and at least one TV drama series by the end of 2007, when it hits full speed.

“The idea of this partnership is to harness Shanghai Film Studios’ strengths in China and physical production facilities with EMP’s talent management operations, which are among Asia’s strongest, and its connections in Hong Kong, Taiwan and the region,” said Emperor chairman Albert Yeung, who inked the deal Sunday with SFS prexy Ren Zhonglun during the Shanghai Film Festival.

Chan and Wang, who both have extensive production and screenwriting credits, will not announce first movie projects before next month. But on the TV side, they committed to a debut series, a 26-parter that melds ballroom dancing and hip-hop music and features young thesps from China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Movie slate is expected to tick over at a rate of two major pics a year with global ambitions and two or more commercial films for regional release.

SFS Emperor will draw finance equally from its parent companies but may also raise third-party coin. All pics and series flowing from the venture will qualify as Chinese-made. Rights split will give SFS distribution in China and EMP in other territories.

Chan said EMP will continue to produce films outside the venture where appropriate and also will remain an international sales agent for titles flowing from Yeung’s personal interest in Jackie Chan Enterprises.

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