New pic via ScreenDaily:
Fortissimo, Wong Kar Wai’s Jet Tone Expand Relationship
Fortissimo chairman Michael Werner will associate produce ‘Grandmaster,’ with the company also handling the Jet Tone library.
Werner will associate produce Grandmaster, the film starring Zhang Ziyi (Memoirs of a Geisha), Tony Leung Chiu Wai (Lust, Caution) and Chang Chen (Red Cliff), and Fortissimo will handle sales in select territories retained by Jet Tone Film including Japan, South Korea and India.
Werner will work closely with producer Pang to advise on the marketing and release strategy for the film around the world.
Fortissimo also will handle the Jet Tone Films library, including titles such as Wong Kar Wai’s Chungking Express, Fallen Angels and Ashes of Time Redux.
From the set of Block 2 Pictures and Sil Metropole Organization presentation last week, Werner observed Wong has built Grandmasters around “one of the most exciting sets and fighting sequences that I have ever seen.”
Fortissimo and Jet Tone have worked together more than 20 years and Pang said of Werner: “We have always seen Michael as a member of our team and we are very happy to have him physically on board Grandmaster utilizing his background and knowledge of Asian cinema and his expertise in international sales, marketing and distribution.”
Chan Ye Cheng and Song Dai are executive producers, while Philippe Le Sourd is shooting the film with action choreography from Yuen Wo Ping and production design by William Chang Suk Ping.
With the American Film Market starting tomorrow (3 Nov 2010) the company has picked up the upcoming martial arts film The Grandmasters (一代宗師), by Hong Kong auteur Wong Kar-wai (王家衛). It has also secured Under The Hawthorn Tree (山楂樹之戀), the romantic drama by Zhang Yimou (張藝謀) that has been a hit on home turf in China and was set as the opening film at the Pusan and Hawaii film festivals.
The greater surprise is the pickup of Grandmasters. As is typical of Wong, the film has been carefully shrouded in secrecy. But this time, as the film was independently financed without recourse to a minimum guarantee from a sales company, or territory pre-sales, producers at Wong’s Jet Tone Films (澤東製作有限公司) have been able to keep buyers and audiences guessing. Many of Wong previous movies were represented by Hong Kong and Amsterdam-based Fortissimo Films.
A period piece, Wong’s film is the fourth in a recent string of pictures about Ip Man (葉問), the legendary martial artist who taught Bruce Lee (李小龍). It has been tentatively positioned for release at Chinese New Year in late-Jan or early-Feb 2011. However, other recent press reports suggest that shooting will continue in early 2011.
Wild Bunch, which has rights outside Asia, says it will provide buyers with a synopsis and screen a 2-minute promo reel at its booth. But the company did not confirm the delivery date.
Partial rights in much of South East Asia were previously picked up by Hong Kong-based film and pan-regional broadcast group Mei Ah Entertainment. In Hong Kong itself Mei Ah has TV and home entertainment rights, while one of the film’s investors SIL-Metropole will oversee theatrical.
Consecutive with the Wild Bunch pickup is a change in title, from The Grand Master to The Grandmasters, the announcement of tagline “in martial arts there is no right or wrong, only the last man standing” and the release of two poster images.
One, in near monochrome, highlights the powerful combination of Wong, Yuen Woo-ping (袁和平) as action choreographer and its stars Tony Leung Chiu-wai (梁朝偉) and Zhang Ziyi (章子怡).
Tony Leung spotted jogging and Song Hye-kyo spotted playing badminton in between filming:
A better look at Zhang Ziyi’s character in the film, fighting at the side of the railroad tracks. (Click to enlarge)
The film has been tentatively positioned for release at Chinese New Year in late-Jan or early-Feb 2011. However, other recent press reports suggest that shooting will continue in early 2011.