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‘Wushu’ gets its wings

Jackie Chan, Dadi Century join martial arts film

Sammo Hung, Jackie Chan and new Chinese shingle Dadi Century (Beijing) have boarded “Wushu,” a coming-of-age martial arts drama to be helmed by Anthony Szeto.

Pic is one of three recently financed by Dadi and being launched at AFM by Hong Kong sales company Golden Network.

Others are “Iris Chang: The Rape of Nanking,” an HD doc that will have its world preem next week in Toronto, and Tibetan drama “Wild Horses From Shangri-La.” Golden Network has world sales rights to “Wushu” and “Wild Horses” and Asia rights only to “Iris Chang.”

Dadi was founded by veteran former D and B Films exec John Sham, who controls the outfit through his two Hong Kong-listed companies Sino-I Tech and Nan Hai Corp. Its biggest move into the entertainment space to date has been development of digital cinemas in China.

“Wushu” was previously unveiled by Golden Network at Cannes, where a display of martial arts skills by the film’s young star Wang Wenjie impressed Hung. Chan will take an advisory and marketing role, while  “Martial Law” star Hung plays father figure in the $4.5 million Hippopotamus Films production.

“Shangri-La,” about a mountain boy’s struggle to save his ailing sister, is the first-time helming effort by veteran Hong Kong cinematographer Gigo Lee. Delivery is skedded for February.

“Iris Chang” is a Real-to-Reel Production, helmed by Anne Pick and Bill Spahic, starring Olivia Cheng.

“China needs a balance of hardware and software. Making more films is not enough to make the Chinese industry grow. That’s why I’m investing in filmmaking and cinemas,” Sham said. “All our cinemas will be 2K and all will be DCI-compliant. Otherwise we won’t be able to show Hollywood movies.”

Company has 17 cinemas in second and third-tier cities, encouraged by Chinese government, which sees digital projection as way of reconnecting cinema with mass market, aims to have 500 sites within five to eight years.

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