CANNES — Films by leading Asian directors Ann Hui, Stanley Kwan and Tsui Hark are aboard a debut slate by J.A. Media, a new shingle backed by wealthy Chinese energy to pharmaceuticals conglom Jian Group.
Additional endorsement comes from producers Nansun Shi’s (“Infernal Affairs”) Film Workshop, Wong Kar Wai’s Jettone and Stephen Chow’s Star Overseas, which have committed projects and manpower to J.A.’s ambitions.
“China’s cultural industries are very underdeveloped and only slowly evolving,” said Elvis Lee, J.A.’s managing director. “Unlike other groups which are very project oriented our philosophy is more corporate and about building structures.”
Company has earmarked $200 million of finance over five years to delivering 25 movies and slate of TV productions, and since last year delivered 120 hours of TV content, mostly remakes of old TVB shows. Movie budgets will be in the $1 million-$12 million range.
Hui is readying “Concubine,” an $8 million adaptation of Denise Chong’s “The Concubine’s Children” and told Variety, “I’ve always wanted to do a Chinatown-set film and this is the biggest project I’ve ever done.”
Tsui , in Cannes with “Triangle,” said “She Ain’t Mean,” an urban comedy about female sophisticates, will be his next picture after underwater romantic thriller “Missing,” which he is shooting. Screenplay is by Kwak Jae-yong, the Korean scripter who penned hit and English-language remake “My Sassy Girl.”
Kwan, who played an instrumental role in bringing together early projects will deliver “Bruce” his long awaited Bruce Lee biopic for the J.A. Pic has a $12 million budget and will be decorated and edited by Wong’s regular partner William Chang Suk-ping.
First before the cameras will be “Miao miao,” a coming of age story with lesbian tinges that shoots next month. Pic will be produced by Wong’s business partner Jacky Pang and helmed by Cheng Hsiao-zer. Fifth pic is “Jump,” a Shanghai set dance drama to be helmed by Stephen Fung. Pic is co-produced with Star Overseas.
“J.A. Media has the most serious and systematic approach of any Chinese newcomer,” said Shi, who has committed as a consultant. “They are determined to put into place the foundations and structures before making the movies.”
Company has opened Beijing office to take over handle production and distribution responsibilities and will establish Hong Kong branch to handle distribution and finance.
“The way that J.A. is taking over financial considerations and encouraging directors to work together is makes this a very talent friendly organization,” Hui said.