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August 27, 2012

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Home » Metro » Entertainment and Culture

Zhang Yimou plans to set up film fund in Shanghai

FILM director Zhang Yimou is planning to establish a private equity fund in Shanghai to invest in films after reports that his 16-year-long partnership with producer Zhang Weiping has ended.

News website said anonymous investors had received letters from agencies inviting them to participate in the private equity fund to be established by Zhang, 62, and a Shanghai company.

The fund will raise a total of 2 billion yuan (US$314.7 million) mainly for film making and some cultural events, the website said.

Zhang and producer Zhang Weiping have worked together on 11 films but are said to have parted company after their latest film "The Flowers of War," starring Christian Bale.

The website said rumors about the ending of the partnership had been circulating since March.

Zhang Weiping confirmed a rumor that he had left the New Picture Co studio when he gave an interview last Wednesday.

In it he said that he hadn't met Zhang Yimou since "The Flowers of War" premiere and that he "now has no more business with him," according to the website.

The report said the director of "The Road Home," "House of Flying Daggers" and "Curse of the Golden Flower" had been talking to other studios in the past few months, but contract negotiations were said to have stalled.

According to the website, Zhang rejected an offer from Beijing Galloping Horse Film & TV Production worth more than 100 million yuan.

An industry insider said Zhang rejected the offer because Wanda Group had made him a better one. There are reports that Wanda offered him a deal worth a total of 1 billion yuan. A Wanda official said the number was inaccurate but refused to elaborate, the website said.

The industry insider said Zhang's talks with Wanda had also stalled as the director was keen to work independently.

In the latest news about Zhang's private equity fund, the Shanghai Kunhong Media Co confirmed to the website that it was negotiating with Zhang, but an official surnamed Wang refused to disclose further details.

Film industry insiders believe that if such a fund was established, Zhang would have no difficulty in attracting investors because of his international reputation and could earn more than by working with film studios, the website said.

"The Flowers of War," which commemorated the Nanjing Massacre during World War II, was selected as the Chinese entry for last year's Academy Awards but did not make the final shortlist.

The movie was nominated for a Golden Globe award and received several nominations for the 6th Asian Film Awards, including one for best film.


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