Alibaba to produce Wong Kar Wai project

China’s Alibaba Pictures has greenlit its first film project – a drama entitled The Ferryman to be produced by leading Hong Kong filmmaker Wong Kar Wai.

The film will be written and directed by best-selling Chinese novelist Zhang Jiajia, adapted from his own short story about helping people with difficulties “to get to the other side”. Tony Leung Chiu-wai has been lined up to star.

Alibaba said it has also acquired international rights to Jean-Jacques Annaud’s Wolf Totem, which will be released in China over the upcoming Chinese New Year holiday period, along with the rights to adapt My Fair Princess.

Previously known as ChinaVision, Alibaba Pictures was renamed after it was acquired by ecommerce giant Alibaba last year. The company has investment deals with Wong Kar Wai’s Block 2 Pictures, Peter Ho-sun Chan’s We Pictures and Hong Kong filmmaker Stephen Chow.

“The company will leverage Alibaba Group’s cloud computing and big data technologies to help tap customer demand and create a comprehensive ecosystem for its film and television production and marketing business,” said Alibaba Pictures Group CEO and executive director Zhang Qiang.