Medavoy sets China projects

Producer pairs with Shanghai Film Group

Mike Medavoy and Shanghai Film Group are teaming on a feature film and a TV miniseries — both set in World War II in China.

The projects, announced Monday at the 14th Shanghai Intl. Film Festival, will share common story elements and characters.

Medavoy, who was born in Shanghai in 1941, lived the first six years of his life there before immigrating to Chile and then the U.S. He also produced the WWII thriller “Shanghai,” which hasn’t yet been released by the Weinstein Co.

The new feature project is loosely based on “The Cursed Piano” by Chinese author Bei La. It’s a love story set against the backdrop of Japanese-occupied China, at a time when Shanghai offered refuge to Europe’s persecuted Jews.

The six-hour miniseries will be based on Daniella Kuhn’s story “Tears of the Sparrow” and made in parallel with the film, forcusing more closely on the Jewish experience in Shanghai.

Screenwriter Nicholas Meyer (“Elegy”) has also joined the project. Medavoy and Meyer previously worked together on the film “Time and Again.”

Zhao Qizheng, former minister of the China’s State Information Office, will serve as senior advisor on the film. Hu Wei, vice chairman of the 13th Shanghai People’s Congress, and writer Robert Lawrence Kuhn will exec produce and Adam Zhu will serve as a special advisor.

Shanghai Film Group partnered with Merchant-Ivory in 2005 on “The White Countess,” marking the first time a Chinese company participated both in investment and international rights on a Chinese foreign co-production. Medavoy most recently produced “Shutter Island” and “Black Swan” through Phoenix Pictures.

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