Two international sales and finance powerhouses are getting on the China bandwagon. IM Global has enlisted former Huayi Brothers exec Leslie Chen to head up its new Beijing operation. The offices will be open at the end of the month where IM Global’s pan-Asian distribution label Apsara will be based. Chen will manage much of the company’s international sales activity in the region as well as overseeing the release of IM Global’s films in mainland China.
Meanwhile, France’s Wild Bunch is partnering with Beijing-based production and distribution group Taihe Pictures to create a sales and distribution outfit Taihe Wild Bunch. The company will focus on acquiring international distribution rights for Chinese movies with crossover potential and will exploit Wild Bunch’s catalog, including remake rights, in China. Wild Bunch has deep ties to China having worked with such filmmakers as Lou Ye, Chen Kaige and Zhang Yimou over the past several years. Taihe’s Chuck Zhang noted that the “core of the Chinese film industry has limited contact with the international market and that is what we intend to address. We will seek to use international partners and to apply financially sound criteria to create a boutique catalogue.”