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Media Asia to bow slate

Conglom also secures China distrib rights to 'Departed'

Media Asia struck the right note with a Silver Bear for music on “Isabella” at the Berlin festival. At Filmart, which kicks off Monday in firm’s Hong Kong hometown, Media Asia will make a bigger noise by unveiling eight movies on its 2006 slate.

Conglom has also secured Greater China distribution rights to Martin Scorsese’s “The Departed,” an English-language adaptation of Media Asia’s “Infernal Affairs” triad trilogy. There are no plans for sequels to the U.S. version as elements were taken from all three Hong Kong pics, said Media Asia deputy chairman and chief exec John Chong.

Reassembling many of the key elements from “Infernal,” including helming duo Andrew Lau and Alan Mak and star Tony Leung Chiu-wai, “Behind the Sin,” is a story about a detective who helps a friend investigate his father-in-law’s death. With an anticipated budget of HK60 million ($7.7 million), picture will lense from early May at the latest, Chong said.

Currently untitled is an epic that spans 30 years in the life of a Hong Kong mobster family. Pic will also be helmed by Mak and Lau most likely at the end of the year and star Asian superstar Jay Chou. The $8 million pic will be a co-production with China, though partner hasn’t yet been inked.

Helmer Teddy Chen (“Wait Till You’re Older) is working on an unnamed martial arts action film with monks in a modern Asian city. Shooting of the $5 million pic is expected to begin this summer. Talent hasn’t been confirmed. If the script is ready by May, the film will bow this year, Chong said.

Other new element on the slate is “Kiss,” the working title for a romantic comedy helmed by Chan Hing-kar and starring Stanley Chan. Budget set at $4 million with shooting to begin in May or June for an end of year bow.

Previously announced are “The Banquet” and Johnnie To’s “Exiled.”

“Banquet,” a $15 million to $20 million Shakespearean epic directed by Feng Xiaogang, stars Zhang Ziyi, Ge You and Zhou Xun from mainland China, alongside Hong Kong’s Daniel Wu. A co-production with China’s Huayi Brothers, pic is now in post and is skedded for a September release.

“Exiled,” a $4.5 million action drama mostly shot in Macau and starring Anthony Wong, Richie Jen, Francis Ng and Josie Ho is in production.

The 2006 release sked started with Law Wing-cheong’s “2 Become 1,” a $1.9 million breast cancer comedy that was released March 2 and has topped the B.O. for two weeks. Starring Miriam Yeung and Richie Jen, it was produced by To and co-produced with China Film.

“Isabella,” a $1.3 million drama helmed by Pang Ho-cheung is opens the Hong Kong fest and bows commercially April 6.