Asian fund plans 30 films in 5 years

A3 starts with backing of Shi, Satoru, Lee

Asian movie-making is to get a $100 million cash injection following the launch of the A3 Intl. Film Fund.

New structure will take an active approach to distribution and establish privileged relationships with traditional distribs and new tech distribs.

A3 starts with the backing of leading Asian filmmakers and bizzers including Nansun Shi (“Infernal Affairs”), Iseki Satoru (“The Emperor and the Assassin”), Lee Joo-ick (“Battle of Wits”), Yu Dong (Poly Bona topper) and former Media Asia international sales chief Jeffrey Chan. Sixth founder is Simone Govic, a former Morgan Stanley investment banker.

A3 is to be run by Hong Kong-based licensed fund manager Crosby Capital Partners, which will publish prospectus and start formal fund raising in next three months. However, the soft launch phase has already seen Korean stock market-listed investment company Entorino Corp., and its CEO Tornado Kang, commit $20 million capital.

“We aim to be involved with some 30 films over the next five years in four budget ranges; upto $1 million, upto $5 million, upto $10 million and a very few up to $30 million,” Shi said. “Possibly 60% will be Chinese pictures, with 40% from the rest of Asia and elsewhere.”

The A3 name is a reference to China, Japan and South Korea.

Shi said fund will be run on a strictly commercial basis and ink special relationships with online distribution platforms in the region. These are seen as broadening access to Chinese films and lowering the threshold for profitability. Similarly, in the restricted Chinese releasing market, A3 will seek a long-term deal with aggressive private sector distrib Poly Bona.

Fund is genre neutral and is prepared to provide up to 60% of budget for movies at lower cost end of the scale.

“The Korean film industry has reached saturation point already and we need to look further afield while maintaining the quality for which Korean movies are known,” said Kang, who has previously backed “The Show Must Go On” and is financing English-language remake of John Woo’s “A Better Tomorrow.”

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