The company, which carries the same name as his Midnight Sun Pictures label in Los Angeles, has the aim to nurture new Chinese talent. Its remit covers development and production, with output being Chinese titles or Chinese-foreign co-productions.
The company has several stories in development and a couple of scripts at advanced stages. Development staff are now in the process of being hired. Chinese-centric horror stories and thrillers for local directors will be prioritized.
Financial backing for the company comes from Jiabo Culture Group, a Beijing-based creative consortium. Distribution of the finished productions will be decided on a case by case.
The launch of Midnight Sun in China is separate to Harlin’s recent agreement to make “Legend of the Ancient Sword,” a Chinese fantasy film backed by China’s Alibaba Pictures Group, as his next directing assignment.
Harlin recently completed Jackie Chan-starring “Skiptrace,” which releases next month in China, and says he fell in love with the place. He has been living in Beijing for the past two years.
“As an American who originally comes from Finland, I don’t expect the rest of the world to be like the U.S., so I found China very easy to fit in,” Harlin told Variety. “For film makers, nothing is impossible in China. Everything can be improvised.”
“I think I can bring certain Hollywood ingredients, such as the three act structure or making Chinese fantasy films more acceptable to international audiences.”
A number of other Western film makers including the Russo brothers and Rob Minkoff are active in China, but Harlin points out his uniqueness. “I’m the only director from Hollywood who calls China home,” he said. “I’ve now got a dog in Beijing.”