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Helmer Jack Neo’s new company, Neo Studios, and another Singaporean shingle are set to co-produce movies in China. Announcements were made as Singapore and Chinese authorities signed closer cooperation agreements.

Neo Studios and its Raffles China Media Fund will co-invest in or co-produce films over the next three years in a partnership that includes Shanghai Film Group, Xi’an-based Western Film Group and Hong Kong’s Big Media. Fund starts life with a float of S$10 million ($6.8 million), but details of projects were not available.

With partners in Chengdu and Hunan, World Without Borders said it will co-produce “Year,” the first element in a planned trilogy called “Year, Month, Day.” It is also producing English-language animated film “You Are My Sunshine.” Total production budgets are $6.4 million.

Two memos of understanding were signed between Singapore’s Media Development Authority and China’s State Administration for Radio Film & Television. The first covers bilateral arrangements for movie and TV co-productions (Daily Variety, Sept. 20), the second formalizes co-organization of film festivals in each country.

China’s Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Automation and the MDA will jointly found Singapore Institute of Digital Media, a new-media research establishment that will open its doors next year.

MDA and Sarft said that they expect 17 memos of understanding to be signed during the ongoing cultural diplomacy initiative Singapore Season China 2007.

“China is quickly becoming a key producer and market for media content and services. Singapore companies would like to work with Chinese enterprises, as we believe there is strong synergy in our respective media sectors to produce compelling media products not just for our home audiences but also for the global market,” said Singapore’s minister for information, communication and the arts, Lee Boon Yang.