Chen makes ‘Promise’ for new shingle

Duo brought 'Together' at screening

HOLLYWOOD — Chinese director Chen Kaige has teamed with producer Etchie Stroh to create a production company that will produce both Chinese- and English-language features. 

Financing for the as-yet-unnamed company will come from Chinese sources as well as Stroh’s production-sales shingle Moonstone Entertainment.

The company’s first film, tentatively titled “The Promise,” is budgeted at approximately $20 million. Written by Chen with Zhang Tan, Chen will direct. Pic is slated for a 25-week shoot in Asia, which will begin in late fall. 

Set in the past, “The Promise” is a love triangle fantasy between a general, a princess and a slave. In addition to Chen and Stroh, Chen Hong (“Together”) and Han San Ping will produce the project. Moonstone holds worldwide rights. 

In establishing the Chen-Stroh joint venture, Stroh will also act as Chen’s manager for directing assignments outside of China.”(The managerial role) came very naturally in our relationship,” said Stroh of his sole client. “I have no intention to open a management company. This fits into our boutique operation.”

Stroh and Chen first met last June when the filmmaker screened “Together” in Paris. Moonstone took worldwide rights on the pic shortly thereafter.

The relationship paid off at the Toronto Film Festival, when United Artists paid $1.5 million for all North American rights on the pic. Pact was the biggest at the 2002 fest.

The helmer’s credits also include “The Emperor and the Assassin” as well as “Farewell, My Concubine,” which won the Golden Palm at the 1993 Cannes Film Festival.

Moonstone’s credits include Alan Rudolph’s “Afterglow,” Robert Altman’s “Cookie’s Fortune,” Michael Radford’s “Dancing At The Blue Iguana” and Mike Figgis’ “Hotel .”

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