New funding for Australian-Chinese co-productions

14 April, 2014 by Don Groves

Mario Andreacchio’s AMPCO Studios has clinched financing and production deals with Chinese entities for two films and created a China co-production film fund with an initial capital of $15 million.

The films are Trying the Knot, a romantic comedy from director Nadia Tass and producer-writer David Parker, and Shimalaya, a WW2 action/adventure from China/Taiwan director Roy Chin.


The deals were signed last week during an Australian trade mission to China attended by Trade Minister Andrew Robb.

Due to start shooting in July, Tying the Knot centres on an Australian guy who, three days before he is due to marry a Chinese girl, is thrown into jail after being wrongly accused of robbing a bank.

Parker wrote the script, inspired by a true incident in the 1970s. It’s a co-production between Parker and Tass’ Cascade Films, AMPCO Studios and Shanghai Film and Video Technology Company.

The producers are Shanghai Film and Video Technology Company CEO Yuan Lutai, Shen Chen, Parker, Tass and Andreacchio.

Lutai said: “We have worked with many foreign film companies, but not with Australia before. Our collaboration has begun very well, and we are already planning a longer term co-operation for mutual benefit."

Tass said: “I am looking forward to finding in this romantic comedy the common humanity between East and West.” Tass and Parker last collaborated on the comedy The Menkoff Method.

Scripted by Jeffrey Greene, Shimalaya focuses on one of the world’s greatest aviation airlifts by Allied forces, in which more than 600 planes were lost. AMPCO is co-producing that project with Chinawood Media Corp. Chin’s father was one of the navigators in the Chinese air force that assisted in the war effort.

Burma Road International’s Tony Coombs packaged the project and brought it to AMPCO. Andreacchio will produce with Chinawood’s James Xia and Kojo’s Dale Roberts.

A joint venture with Shanghai YaoQiao Culture Development., the film fund will cash flow the Australian producer tax offset and provide distribution guarantees, gap finance and funds for the marketing and publicity of Chinese-Australia co-productions.

Cathy Zhu, president of the Shanghai company, said: “I have invested in many industries and extensively in property development in Australia and China. Film brings together my cultural interests in both countries with managed and controlled film investment.”

Andreacchio made the first official co-production between China and Australia, The Dragon Pearl, with Hengdian World Studios.