Huayi Brothers, Atom Cinema and Honto Productions Form Strategic Alliance Across Taiwan Straits

Wang Zhonglei - P 2012
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The mainland Chinese studio will play a “vital role” in the distribution and equity investment of new projects pursued by the two Taiwanese shingles, including a remake of John Woo’s “A Better Tomorrow.”

Huayi Brothers, one of mainland China’s leading private media corporations, made its first steps in establishing a foothold in Taiwan by striking a “long-term strategic alliance” with Taiwan’s Atom Cinema and Honto Productions, as the two companies announced plans to collaborate in the making of eight television and film projects.

Appearing at the launch celebrating Atom and Honto’s link-up in Taipei, Huayi Bros. International Media president Wang Zhonglei said he wanted to expand his company’s reach across the Taiwan Straits because of his high regards over the “unrestrained” and “diversified” films made by Taiwanese filmmakers -- an innovation and audacity that is lacking in mainland China, he said.

“Through our collaboration, we can on the one hand make films liked by audiences on the three lands on the two shores [in mainland China, Taiwan and Hong Kong] – films which could secure good box office records ... but also preserve the spirit and cultural independence of Taiwanese cinema,” said Wang, who was in Taiwan to promote Feng Xiaogang’s war drama Back to 1942.

“With Hollywood laying siege on us, filmmakers could shape our very own force and terrain in Chinese-language cinema through such strategic collaborations.”

Among the new Atom-Honto slate is Doze Niu’s planned remake of John Woo’s A Better Tomorrow. The actor-director, who consolidated his credentials with the commercial hit Monga and is also the founder of Honto, is also prepping Paradise in Service, a story set in the 1960s on an island stuck in the middle of the standoff between mainland China and Taiwan.

Niu will also produce Liao the Good Bandit, a take on the Taiwanese folk legend Liao Tiandeng by Cheng Yu-chieh (Yang Yang). Yang Ya-che (Gf*Bf), meanwhile, will pursue the historical drama The Rouge-Sang de Chine, which has recently won the CJ Award at the Asian Film Market in Busan.  

Other films announced include urban adventure comedy I Want to Live by Arvin Chen (Au Revoir Taipei), as well as a new television serial by Fang Xiao-ren (You’re My Destiny, My Queen) about a young ex-con’s return to society, and romance drama My Ex-Girlfriend’s Second Wedding by Tom Lin Shu-yu (Starry Starry Night).

Speaking at the press launch, Niu – who founded Honto in 2002 – said his aim was to have his company listed on the stock exchange.