Former Fox licensing executive, Al Ovadia has launched Los Angeles-Beijing Studios, a new production and merchandising company intended to bridge film industry relations between China and the U.S.
With offices in Los Angeles, Beijing, Shanghai, and Taipei, the startup is backed by Hotland Ventures, a Shenzhen, China-based film fund worth $300 million.
Merchandising, franchising and global co-productions — which we call our ‘Golden Triangle’ is LABS’ primary strategic model,” said Ovadia in a statement. “LABS’ model of integrating merchandising and licensing as early as the script stage will impact U.S.-China co-productions artistically and financially. This high level of complex engagement and early commitment, bonding story and consumer products, doesn’t currently exist in the Chinese film industry, and is a rarity in Hollywood.”
LABS has assembled a development slate of some 100 intellectual properties including 20 completed screenplays. Under producer and LABS executive Sriram Das, the company is now working to get the titles approved by the Chinese government. The first phase of its production plan includes sci-fi, fantasy, animation, action-adventure and star studded thrillers.
Shenzhen-based Hotland Film Ventures is headed by Zhang Hongwei. It claims financial backed in part by Shenzhen Ventures, one of China’s leading venture capital funds; Beijing Film Academy; and the Youth Film Studio in Beijing. Zhang said that he plans to expand the fund to $1.6 billion.
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“By astutely examining successful aspects of traditional Hollywood studios and other accomplished companies like Dune, Miramax, Relativity, Legendary and Netflix, we as investment partners are primed to support a studio of the future, bringing both cultures and markets together, and that studio is Los Angeles-Beijing Studios,” he said.