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Columbia, Chow's Star to find niche

CANNES — Columbia Pictures Film Production Asia and Stephen Chow's Star Overseas are teaming up on a multifeature production collaboration for a series of niche films featuring new and emerging Asian talent both above and below the line. The hip-hop dance romantic comedy "Jump," based on an original story by Chow, marks the first project under the partnership. The story centers on an awkward and naive farm girl (Kitty Zhang) who dreams of stardom in the big city. A cleaner in a local dance school by day, she secretly pursues her dream by night, perfecting her own hip-hop martial arts dancing style. Her transformation quickly becomes a media sensation but affects her life in unexpected ways.

'Luck' right vintage for Caro

CANNES — Niki Caro is set to direct a screen adaptation of Elizabeth Knox's novel "The Vintner's Luck" that Caro co-scripted with Joan Scheckel. The film centers on a peasant winemaker in 19th century France as he grapples with the sensual, sacred and profane while searching for the perfect vintage. The cast includes Jeremie Renier, Gaspard Ulliel, Vera Farmiga, Maria Ruiz and Keisha Castle-Hughes, who starred in Caro's "Whale Rider." Principal photography is scheduled for February in Auckland, New Zealand, before moving in March to the Burgundy region of France and then Belgium.



Van Damme does 'Van Damage'

CANNES — Jean-Claude Van Damme will flex his famous "muscles from Brussels" for Gallic production, distribution and international sales company Gaumont. "Van Damage," the first French-language film for the Belgian-born action superstar, is set to start shooting Sept. 15. Mabrouk El Mechri ("Virgil") is on board to helm the tale of a failing action star who becomes mixed up in a real bank robbery in Hollywood. A U.S. remake of the film, directed by Laurent Tuel, is in the works.



Ratner, Jones party with 'Carnaval'

CANNES — Brett Ratner and Quincy Jones are gearing up to bring the world's biggest party to 3-D screens. The "Rush Hour" director will helm "Carnaval 3D: The Magic & the Music," about the annual celebration in Rio de Janeiro. Jones will serve as tour guide for the U.S.-Brazil co-production, highlighting the festival's music, dance and costumes. Filming is due to begin in the fall. "Carnaval 3D" will be produced by Quincy Jones Prods., Mark Ross and Roger Kass, working with Tycoon Studios, the largest video production company in Rio de Janeiro. Capitol Films will handle international sales; the producers will handle North America.



Pusan powers Asian film

CANNES — A new Asian Cinema Fund with nearly $1 million aimed at supporting Asian movie projects was unveiled Monday by organizers of the Pusan International Film Festival. Worth 800 million South Korean won ($890,000), the fund will help bankroll everything from pre- to postproduction projects carried out at least in part in South Korea. Films backed by the fund will have the right to be screened at future editions of the Pusan fest, which takes place Oct. 4-12 this year. The fund was created by the Pusan government and a group of five South Korean postproduction studios.



Eros targets YouTube viewers

CANNES — London-based Eros International has launched the first official Bollywood channel on YouTube as part of the portal's Partner Channels section. The Eros channel will include trailers, music videos and other exclusive footage from Eros International's catalog of 1,300 films, including such new releases as "Namastey London" (Hello London), "Provoked" and "Cheeni Kum" (Less Sugar).
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