China Capital Zhongcai Fund Management Co. Ltd. is the lead investor in a $300 million film fund being raised by Starlight Culture Entertainment Group, Variety has learned exclusively.
Starlight is a China-backed firm with offices in Beverly Hills, Calif. It operates under the leadership of CEO Peter Luo, and came to notice in 2016 through a deal with “Aquaman” director James Wan. Starlight then signed deals with F. Gary Gray, Roland Emmerich, and Jon M. Chu last year, and invested in “Crazy Rich Asians.” Starlight also signed a deal with Nattawut Poonpiriya, director of the breakout Thai film “Bad Genius.”
Zhongcai Fund Management describes itself as a principal investor in Tencent Music streaming music service for the Chinese market. Starlight said the new film fund will help it sign additional filmmakers and back movies in the international market.
“Our goal is to bring auteur cinema into modern films and present the essence of films and how it affects the story and characters to its audience,” Luo said. “It might sound crazy, but the truth is that I watched a six-minute rough cut of ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ and absolutely loved it, and decided that Starlight has to be a part of this amazing project. We are very pleased with the box office results and feedback of this film and sometimes you just have to trust your guts and follow your instinct.”
Starlight also financed the film “Greta,” directed by Neil Jordan and starring Chloe Grace Moretz. It is a backer on the WWII action-drama “Midway,” starring Woody Harrelson, Patrick Wilson, Mandy Moore, and Luke Evans, with a slated release for November 2019.
“In our films, the hero might not make it, because he or she is a human being as well,” Luo said. “We want films to be real, to be touchable, and to perhaps most importantly, touch hearts across cultures.”