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Sydney Film Production Co., which focuses on Australian-Chinese co-ventures, has hired industry veteran Mark Lazarus as its head of production. The company set “The Paper Menagerie” as its next film.

With recent credits including Li Bingbing-starring “Guardians of the Tomb” and Daniel Radcliffe-starrer “Jungle,” Lazarus previously served as head of creative and acquisitions at Arclight Films. Before that he was drama investment manager at Screen Australia, and also worked at the Australian Film Commission, 20th Century Fox and Fox Icon Productions.

Written by award-winning science fiction and fantasy writer Ken Liu, “The Paper Menagerie” follows Jack, a Chinese-American boy who learns about his late mother’s past through the origami animals she brought to life for him as a child. The book previously won the Hugo, Nebula and World Fantasy awards. No director, cast or timetable was disclosed.

Headed by Song Weinan, Sydney Film this year announced a slate of 14 films that will be developed to qualify as Australian-Chinese co-productions. In total, Sydney Film is aiming to identify 20 existing or potential co-production films with an overall investment budget of A$400 million (RMB2 billion). All films will be shot in both China and Australia, with several productions intending to use multiple locations across Australia from Sydney to Melbourne and the Great Barrier Reef.

The first feature film to go into production will be “Story of the Northeast Part 2,” a sequel to the successful first installment of the series. It will be directed by Guo Dalei and shot early next year in Australia.

Sydney Film is a subsidiary company of Pacific Holdings Group. It owns a production facility in Stanmore New South Wales, which includes a Cyclorama studio, screening room and offices.