In the pipeline: Co-productions fuel Hong Kong resurgence


RELATED: Co-prods breathe life into HK film
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"The Equation of Love and Death"
Status: Postproduction
Chinese actress Zhou Xun ("Perhaps Love") took a pay cut to play a taxi driver in writer-director Cao Baoping's drama about cabs, crooks and junkies. Backed by Hong Kong's Sundream Motion Pictures and China's Huayi Brothers, production began in July in China's Yunnan province.

"Water Margin"
Status: Preproduction
Adapted from one of the four classics of Chinese literature, the legendary 14th century adventure follows 108 social/political outcasts and bandits living in a mountain commune. The Media Asia-backed project with a HK$600 million ($77 million) budget is in script development with Johnnie To ("Election") and Andrew Lau ("Infernal Affairs"). The story will be told in at least two parts, with To and Lau each directing one. Production is tentatively scheduled to start at the end of 2008.

"Ip Man"

Status: Preproduction
Ip Man was the mentor of kung fu icon Bruce Lee, who as a teenager in the mid-1950s studied Wing Chun martial arts under the widely respected master. Donnie Yen will star in this Mandarin Film-produced biography for "Dragon Tiger Gate" director Wilson Yip. Ip's two sons will advise on the project, while Sammo Hung will step in to direct the action sequences. Mandarin is in negotiation with an undisclosed Chinese partner to produce.

Status: Postproduction
Touted as the first million-dollar Chinese-language adaptation of a Hollywood screenplay, Emperor Motion Pictures' "Connected" is the 2004 Kim Basinger vehicle "Cellular" in Chinese. Director Benny Chan ("Rob-B-Hood") spent two years reworking the script. The HK$45 million action drama stars Louis Koo ("Protege"), Barbie Hsu and Nick Cheung. It was co-produced with China Film Group, Warner China and China's Armor Entertainment. Scheduled for a December 2008 release.

"Winds of September"

Status: Completed
A trilogy about growing up in Taiwan, mainland China and Hong Kong from a single story by writer-director Shu-Yu Lin, who shot the Taiwan chapter. Produced by Hong Kong actor-director-producer Eric Tsang and backed by Big Media, the films were directed by three young filmmakers from the corresponding regions, who embellished the same story structure with local flavors. The features hit the festival circuit this month, with premieres at the Hong Kong International Film Festival.