Italy's Giuseppe Tornatore to shoot movie for China's Alibaba Pictures

Cinema Paradiso directorjoins growing roster of film heavyweights, including Wong Kar-wai and Peter Chan, to have signed deals to work with China e-commerce giant’s film production arm

PUBLISHED : Monday, 18 April, 2016, 12:25pm
UPDATED : Monday, 18 April, 2016, 12:29pm

Italian film director Giuseppe Tornatore, best known for Cinema Paradiso, has struck a deal to make a movie with China’s Alibaba Pictures Group (APG), the filmmaking arm of e-commerce giant Alibaba Group.

The deal was signed symbolically by Tornatore and Zhang Qiang of APG at the end of a forum on co-productions on Sunday, the first full day of the Beijing International Film Festival. Among the witnesses to the signing was Miao Xiaotian, vice-president of the China Film Co-production Corporation.

“The deal is an agreement in principle [without a specific project that is yet agreed],” Tornatore said. He said the film was likely to be made within the next two to three years and be a majority Chinese-financed picture.

It is unclear whether the film will use the bilateral co-production treaty between Italy and China that was signed in 2014. The first film that used the treaty was Cristiano Bortone’s Coffee.

Tornatore, who has other credits including Malena, A Pure Formality and The Legend of 1900, joins an expanding list of directors who have signed deals with APG. Others include Hong Kong’s Wong Kar-wai and Peter Chan Ho-sun.

Earlier this month APG announced that it had teamed with Skydance to produce a film about the Flying Tigers, the second world war squadron in which US and Chinese airmen flew on the same side, with Randall Wallace (Braveheart) supplying the screenplay.

Alibaba Pictures began investing in Hollywood film with its stake in the 2015 Skydance film Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation in partnership with Paramount Pictures.

Alibaba Group is the owner of the South China Morning Post.