Announce Acquisition of Zheng Wei's FISH EYES from the Tribeca Film Festival

International Deal includes Theatrical, DVD, Television, Online



Contact:           Andrew Grant,

Mark Rance,

                        Aaron Hillis,



[New York – April 29, 2009] – US/UK-based Benten/Watchmaker Films has acquired all North American, UK, and European rights for Fish Eyes, the debut feature from Chinese filmmaker Zheng Wei. The film is currently screening in the Showcase section of this year's Tribeca Film Festival. The agreement marks Benten/Watchmaker's entry into the theatrical market, as well as their first acquisition for international distribution. The deal was brokered with the filmmaker and Jun Seong, the producer of the film.


Fish Eyes, which has been called a "real discovery" (New York Post) is the first feature from China's 29-year-old Zheng Wei. Set between the months of the Sichuan earthquake and the 2008 Beijing Olympics, it tells of a father, son, and a mysterious young woman who enters their lives. Richly subtle, the film traces the desires, tenderness, and cruelty of the unusual relationship that develops between the trio of characters, and achieves a remarkable eloquence through simple but precise editing and stunning cinematography. The film was shot in HD, and features a cast of non-professional actors.


"When I first saw the film, I knew I had stumbled upon a major talent," said Benten President Andrew Grant, adding, "It's almost hard to believe that a film this beautiful and understated is the work of a newcomer. That it was shot in only eighteen days, and for less than $40,000, is staggering."


Benten will work with Seong on securing a theatrical run, a first for the DVD-only label. "The film is too vital—and frankly, too gorgeously shot—to not give it a chance on the big screen," said Benten VP Aaron Hillis. "We're truly thrilled about entering the theatrical market, and with such a strong title to make that leap."


Director Zheng Wei, who is part of the thriving independent digital film movement in Beijing, believes the deal will help Chinese independent cinema find acceptance in the North American and European marketplaces.


Fish Eyes is currently screening at the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival and can be seen at the AMC Village VII (66 3rd Ave.):


Wed, April 29, 6:45PM (Premiere)


Thu, April 30, 6:45PM

Fri, May 01, 2:00PM

Sun, May 03, 11:00AM


Director Zheng Wei and director of photography Minho Choi are in New York until May 3, and are available for interviews. Please contact Ines Aslan ( or Andrew Grant (


Benten Films recently merged with UK-based Watchmaker Films in an international partnership. Benten/Watchmaker titles are distributed in the US by E1 Entertainment (formerly Koch Home Entertainment) and in the United Kingdom and Eire by PIAS UK.


About Benten Films

Benten Films is passionate about bringing the best in independent and world cinema to the theatrical, DVD, VOD, and digital download markets. Founded by Andrew Grant (best known in the New York scene as "Filmbrain," online editor of Like Anna Karina's Sweater) in collaboration with Aaron Hillis (a freelance journalist for The Village Voice, LA Weekly, IFC and Spin), Benten is a specialty label designed for cinephiles to uncover lost masterpieces and future classics, with an eye on overlooked gems that deserve greater recognition. All Benten releases are of the highest technical quality, each supplemented with enhanced features and artful packaging. For more information, please visit