J.A. Media packs punch at Cannes

Consultants Chan, Shi help out on five

HONG KONG — J.A. Media, a new Chinese producer and distrib, is hitting Cannes with five pics and a powerhouse of Hong Kong consultants.

The conglom, based in Beijing and the subsidiary of Jian Group and an energy company from Northeast China that distills corn into ethanol fuel, has relied on Hong Kong consultants to help build its new film business.

The newest consulting additions are Jeffrey Chan, recently head of distribution for Media Asia, company responsible for “Infernal Affairs,” which was remade into “The Departed”; and Nansun Shi, a prominent producer who worked on “Infernal Affairs” as well as her husband Tsui Hark’s “Seven Swords.”

Chan and Shi are charged with helping to build a team to work on the five new film projects and to set up a distribution department, said helmer Stanley Kwan (“Everlasting Regret”), who has been consulting with J.A. Media for the past six months on film production.

Chan said he plans to spend a lot of time in Beijing and also will pitch in on future productions.

In the meantime, the company is gearing up for its Cannes debut.

On the slate is Tsui Hark’s HK$20 million ($2.6 million) “She Ain’t Me,” which is set in cosmopolitan Beijing and centers on three women. Pic is fully financed by J.A. Media and will be produced by Tsui’s Film Workshop.

Ann Hui (“Goddess of Mercy”) will be behind the lens for “Concubine,” set in the 1920s in Canton, China, and Vancouver’s China Town. Pic will have an $8 million budget and is looking for co-production partners, Kwan said.

Stephen Fung (“House of Fury”) is directing “Jump” for Stephen Chow’s Star Overseas. Dance drama will be a co-production between Star Overseas and J.A. Media. Budget is set at around $1.5 million.

Kwan will helm the fourth pic on the slate. “Bruce” is a drama that looks at the relationship between Bruce Lee and his son Brandon. Script is still under development, so a budget hasn’t yet been set, Kwan said.

The fifth pic will be with a new Taiwanese director Zhu Jia Lun. Lesbian drama “Miao Miao,” with a budget of $770,000, will be financed by J.A. Media but produced by Jacky Pang from Wong Kar Wai’s Jettone.

“The boss (Sheng Xiao Dong) is a Hong Kong cinemagoer — he loves Hong Kong film,” Kwan said.

As a result, Sheng’s idea is to have the first 10 films be by Hong Kong directors, Kwan added.

Kwan said he hoped the first five films would be completed — production and distribution — within the next two years. On J.A. Media’s wish list of directors to work with on the second bath are Derek Yee (“One Night in Mong Kok”), Andrew Lau (“Infernal Affairs”) and Wilson Yip (“Dragon Tiger Gate”), Kwan said.

J.A. Media started in 2006 with a TV department.

The film division took off after the company got its TV production off the ground with projects such as Ekin Cheng starrer “Huo Yuan Jia” about a Chinese hero during the Qing Dynasty, and “Chen Zhen,” starring Jordan Chan and a “kind of sequel” to “Huo Yuan Jia,” Kwan said.

While headquarters are in Beijing, Kwan also has set up a production office in Hong Kong, which is financed to J.A. Media.

With five new pics in hand and its first foray at Cannes, J.A. Media plans to celebrate by hosting a launch party at the festival May 20.

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