Sundream shining as newcomer

Production house delivers goods in China

Nobody would claim that Sundream Motion Pictures is reinventing the wheel. But it has proved to be a rare example of a new production and finance house that has announced ambitious plans for a slate of movies and then delivered.

With initial successes under its belt, Sundream is now looking to add on other activities that would give it a claim to be a mini studio.

Headed by Tsui Siuming, a veteran producer of Hong Kong actioners, the company was launched in 2005. It helps that Tsui is also a board director of the pay TV provider I-Cable, which is its owner.

One of the first pics it committed to and saw in release last year was “Battle of Wits,” a period actioner with Andy Lau that did satisfactory business at the Hong Kong and Chinese B.O. It now seems to have gained more with hindsight as an intelligent and well-crafted pic, which has made it a solid calling card for Sundream.

With strictly locally target pics including “Nothing Is Impossible,” “49 Days” and “Twins Mission,” 2006, its first full year of operation, saw four Sundream-backed pics make it into theaters.

Company began 2007 by delivering a pic with more obviously international appeal in “Eye in the Sky.” Helmed by Johnny To’s longtime scripting partner Yau Nai-hoi, it preemed in Berlin and was the opener of the Hong Kong fest.

Sundream is now building a team that will expand its horizons to international film sales and video distribution, as well as theatrical distribution within Hong Kong. It hired Nan Wong, who had spent nearly 20 years at Disney distrib Intercontinental, and the string of hirings has continued.

Upcoming slate is headed by “Three Kingdoms: Resurrection of the Dragon,” starring Lau and Maggie Q. With the pic set to be released in spring, its investors are keen to have it out in the market before John Woo’s “Red Cliff,” which draws on related source material. Company is equity investor and Hong Kong distrib, with international sales handled by Arclight Films. Other titles include To’s “Linger,” also set for an outing in the first quarter of next year, and mainland Chinese director Zhang Yibai’s “Juvenile” with Hong Kong stars Karen Mok and Eric Tsang.

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