Italy’s Cinema Paradiso director Giuseppe Tornatore has struck a deal to make a movie with China’s Alibaba Pictures Group, the film making arm of e-commerce giant Alibaba.
The deal was symbolically signed by Tornatore and Zhang Qiang of APG at the end of a forum on co-productions Sunday on the first full day of the Beijing International Film Festival. Among the witnesses to the signing was Miao Xiaotian, VP of China Film Co-production Corporation.
“The deal is an agreement in principal (without a specific project that is yet agreed),” Tornatore told Variety. He said that it will likely happen within the next two to three years and be a majority Chinese-financed picture.
It was 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 well-known talents who have signed first look or outline deals with APG. Others include Wong Kar-wai and Peter Chan.
Earlier this month APG announced that it had teamed with Skydance to produce a film about the Flying Tigers, the WWII squadron in which U.S. and Chinese airmen flew on the same side, with Randall Wallace (Braveheart) supplying the screenplay.