HONG KONG – Asian-American producer-financier Orb Media Group has set up a Beijing-based subsidiary. The entity will draw on a new business relationship between Orb founder Peter Shiao and his father, the well-known fantasy martial arts writer Shiao Yi.
Ironpond, the new Chinese offshoot, has hired Chen Yuling as its Beijing-based senior executive.
Chen, who was previously with Phoenix Film and Zebra Media, will oversee a slate of projects with budgets in the $30 million range. They are to be financed by Orb and other strategic investment partners including the Strategic Bang Group of Shanghai and China Mainstream Media Fund.
First up is a feature film version of “The 19th Assassin,” a Shiao Yi-written story which is currently being produced for the fourth time for television in China. It is also planning a first installment of the “Immortal Sword” series.
Orb says its projects “will be differentiated in the highly competitive Chinese marketplace by their scale and ambition while being very accessible to non-Chinese audiences around the world by their story telling and style.”
Orb’s $40 million English language project, “The Legend of 18,” in partnership with China’s LeVision Pictures, is being readied for production in 2014.
Ironpond will also be actively exploiting the Shiao Yi library of books, many of which are still in print, for exploitation across a range of media including television, games, graphic novels and digital.
Shiao Yi is writer of over 50 novels in the martial arts/fantasy genre, with titles including “The 19th Assassin,” “East Wind on the Cold Painted Veil,” “Loving Gaze on the Sword,” and “The Princess without Worry.” Some 20 of his works have been produced as films in the Golden Age of Hong Kong cinema by Shaw Brothers and Golden Harvest.
“We are in a unique position to deliver the next generation of martial arts/fantasy films that will at once be post-modern and classic for die-hard fans and youth audiences. Taking the genre to its spiritual and philosophical roots with visual flair and Hollywood level execution will be a special aim,” said Peter Shiao.
Ironpond was the name of Peter Shiao’s previous venture, co-founded with former Columbia Pictures executive Teddy Zee, which was the first private equity style fund for films in China in partnership with the China Film Group.