Australia’s AMPCO Signs China Fund and Film Deals

Australian producer AMPCO Studios has set up a China film fund and committed to two Australian-Chinese movies

The Dragon Pearl, Australian Chinese film

HONG KONG – Australian producer AMPCO Studios has set up a China film fund and committed to two Australian-Chinese movies.

The deals were signed last week during an Australian trade delegation to China led by Andrew Robb, Australia’s federal minister for Trade and Investment.

The $15 million China Co-production Film Fund is a joint venture between AMPCO and Shanghai Yao Qiao Culture Development Company, and is intended to assist with the financing of Australia-China treaty co-productions. It will provide cash flow finance for the Australian Producer Tax Offset and distribution guarantees, as well as gap finance and resources for marketing and publicity.

AMPCO and another Australian production firm Cascade Film will go into production in July with Shanghai Film and Video Technology Company on “Tying The Knot.” Budgeted at $6 million the romantic comedy will be directed by Nadia Tass (“Matching Jack,” “The Big Steal”.)

Producers are AMPCO’s Mario Andreacchio, SFVTC’s Yuan Lutai, Shen Chen (China), the film’s scriptwriter David Parker and Tass.

AMPCO and Chinawood Media Corporation are also in the process of setting up “Shimalaya,” an aviation-adventure based on actual events surrounding the last aid supply route into China during WWII, through the Himalayas. Budget is in excess of $20 million.

The project will be led by executive producers Andreacchio and Chinawood’s James Xia, with Dale Roberts, from Adelaide’s KOJO. Chinawood’s James Wang will also produce alongside Andreacchio, with the film to be directed by Taiwan’s Roy Chin. Tony Coombs from Burma Road International, packaged the project and brought it to AMPCO.

“This is a very personal story for me. These are stories I heard first hand while growing up. The human side is inspiring,” said Chin, whose father was a navigator in the Chinese Air Force that assisted in the war effort.

“This is one of the great untold spectacular stories of WWII. The U.S. pilots, worked with pilots from a number of the allied countries. Over 600 planes were lost in what is one of aviation’s greatest airlifts,” said historian Jeffrey Greene, who developed the original concept and penned the screenplay.

AMPCO previously produced “The Dragon Pearl” (pictured) the 2011 family mystery drama that was the first Australia-China co-production.

Last year the company also announced $15 million 19th century gold rush adventure “Gold Road” as another Australo-Chinese venture, with  Shandong Film & TV Media Group. It also acquired rights to best-selling young adult fantasy series “The Alchemyst: Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel.”