Orb Media Group Announces Chinese Film Division Ironpond
Orb Media Group today announced the formation of its Chinese language and China based production/financing entity, Ironpond, and also unveiled a multi-pronged collaboration with legendary fantasy martial arts writer Shiao Yi as one the pillars of the new label.
"This is truly a special day for us on many levels," said Orb Founder and CEO Peter Shiao. "We are very excited to enter the world of Chinese language films in a comprehensive way." Ironpond was the name of Shiao's last venture which was the first private equity style fund for films in China in partnership with the China Film Group. Longtime Chinese media executive Chen Yuling, formerly of Phoenix Film Group and Zebra Media, has been named executive in charge of Ironpond and is based in Beijing.
Orb Media Group is coming to the market with projects that 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.
"After a lifetime of conversations and several years in development, the time has ripened for my father, Shiao Yi and Orb and me to work together," added Shiao. "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."
The initial lineup of films include a new interpretation of THE 19TH ASSASSIN that is currently being produced for the fourth time for television in China, and the first installment of the IMMORTAL SWORD series. Each project will be in the $30 million range, and will be financed by Orb Media Group and other strategic investment partners including the Strategic Bang Group of Shanghai and China Mainstream Media Fund of Beijing.
In addition to the lineup of initial projects, Ironpond will also be actively mining and managing the Shiao Yi library of books, many of which are still in publication, for exploitation across a range of media including television, games, graphic novels and digital products.
"It is very heartening, after all these years, to be working with my son," said Yi. "We have forged our own paths in our careers and they have finally merged. I have stayed true as a creator in the martial arts and fantasy genres which I still love. Peter has blazed his own path as a pioneer in the world of Hollywood-China collaborations and is now at the crossroads of a new global market. I believe what we are doing now will be a high point for both our careers. Personally, I am excited about this next chapter which is to create genre lifting films that will pave a new direction in this style of stories and films that I have spent over 50 years in shaping."
Added, Shiao, "I am excited about re-christening the Ironpond name and brand and bringing it back into the mix as a specialty label." Ironpond will be Orb Media Group's China based entity and the face its Chinese language initiatives.