Aussies pact with Hengdian

Orgs, companies form alliance for pic trio

BEIJING — South Australia’s AMPCO, Salon Films of Hong Kong and China’s Zhejiang Hengdian Film company have announced the formation of a China-Australia co-production alliance at the Hengdian World Studios to make three pics.

The three-movie deal will begin with the over $10 million-budgeted Sam Neill starrer “The Last Dragon,” a kids movie that goes into pre-production in November and will be mostly shot in Hengdian World Studios with visual effects shot in Adelaide. The other two pics will be 3-D films.

“China will be part of the Australian motion movie industry. This is the first step of our long-term cooperation and this is also the first time the Chinese government has endorsed such a deal. It paves the way for future Chinese-Australian productions and significant funding is available for future productions by combining the new Australian film incentives with international finance,” South Australia Premier Mike Rann told a news conference at Hengdian Studios.

Zhang Xun, g.m. of China Film Co-Production Co., said: “Seen from the global perspective, co-production is a must.”

The co-production deal follows years of discussions between Fred Wang, prexy of the veteran Hong Kong group Salon Films, and Mario Andreacchio of the Adelaide Motion Picture Co. (AMPCO), which was set up last year.

“We’re moving away from the single-Hollywood-studio mold and looking at international film co-production in a very different way,” said Andreacchio, who is best known for his family fare. AMPCO is backed by local businessman Geoff Rischbieth.

“There are big changes happening nationally and internationally in the film industry and this agreement will certainly place South Australia right at the heart of it,” Andreacchio said.