Polybona, Tsui Siu Ming ready for war movie

First Sino-Japanese War epic seeks funding at Pusan

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BUSAN, South Korea -- Chinese distribution giant Polybona and Hong Kong’s Tsui Siu Ming Prods. will co-produce a 125 million yuan ($18.3 million) war epic based on the first Sino-Japanese War (1894-95).

The producers are in talks with Asian superstar Andy Lau to star as the Cantonese navy general Deng Shichang, who died in combat during the war and is highly regarded by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army as a hero.

Titled “Jia Wu Qi Feng Yun” (literally “Storms Brewing in the Jia-Wu Year”), the historical drama is the debut of veteran director Siuming Tsui’s newly-established production outfit. Tsui is now developing the script with Polybona, and will direct, write and produce the film, which is an update of the 1962 “The Battle of 1894,” a classic of Chinese cinema.

“‘The Battle of 1894’ was immensely popular in China during and for a long time after its release; most people in the country had seen it,” Polybona chairman and president Yu Dong told The Hollywood Reporter. “Our version will be a reinterpretation in a modern filmmaking style.”

“The war was an important turning point of Sino-Japanese relations, and showed the heroism of the Chinese navy generals,” added Yu, also a co-producer of the film.

“The film will showcase epic scenes of naval battles, but is also a character-driven story told from the viewpoint of the people,” director/writer Tsui said.

The first Sino-Japanese war, known in Chinese as the "Jia Wu War" and named after the year in the Chinese calendar when it was fought, was between Qing Dynasty China and Meiji Japan over control of Korea. It was also the first test for China's modern navy, in which it was destroyed by Japanese forces. The producers plan to discuss co-producing the navy epic with Korean and Japanese producers while in Busan.

Filming is scheduled to begin in the summer of 2010.

Yu and Tsui were in town to speak at the Korea-China co-production forum on the April 2010 release “My Ex-Wife’s Wedding,” produced by China’s Polybona, Hong Kong’s Sundream Motion Pictures, Korea’s SidusIHQ, Hong Kong’s October Picture and Korea’s Nabi Pictures.
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