Comapanies Pact to Co-Finance and Co-Produce a Slate of Animated Projects
First Two Projects will Include Feature Film Based on Classic Chinese Novel “Journey to the West,” and an Animated Short Addressing COVID-19 Pandemic
Los Angeles / Hong Kong – April 07, 2020– It was revealed today that Starlight Media, Inc. (“Starlight”), a China backed film financing and production company, and wholly-owned subsidiary of publicly traded Starlight Culture Entertainment Group Limited, has formed a multi-year / multi project joint venture partnership with David Steward II’s Lion Forge Animation studio, that will see the two companies co-finance and co-produce a slate of original animated films as well as projects based on popular Lion Forge IP and broader cultural IP.
The deal with Steward II’s burgeoning animation studio, which produced this year’s Academy Award® winning animated short “Hair Love,” follows Starlight’s ongoing deals to back filmmakers such as Robert Zemeckis, Sylvester Stallone, James Wan, F. Gary Gray, Roland Emmerich and Jon M. Chu, among others, on live action feature projects as part of a $100+ million development fund. Starlight Media is led by CEO Peter Luo, who operates out of company offices in Beverly Hills, CA.
Under terms of the Lion Forge Animation / Starlight Media joint venture, the two companies will work together to produce and introduce Lion Forge Animation’s existing IP in China, develop new intellectual properties for the Chinese market, and explore traditional Chinese stories and IP to develop innovative remakes and derivative content for exploitation throughout international markets.
The IP holdings of Lion Forge are impressively vast and entail comics, graphic novels, original content, and celebrity affiliations, all of which lend themselves to transmedia, transcontinental storytelling in feature film and short form formats.
For each project under the joint venture, Starlight will maintain distribution, licensing and merchandising rights in the Greater China region (Mainland China, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Macau Special Administrative Region and Taiwan), while Lion Forge Animation will maintain distribution and licensing rights in the rest of the world.
The first two projects emanating from the Lion Forge Animation / Starlight venture will be a re-imaging of “Journey To The West” in the form of a feature-length animated film based on the historical Chinese novel of the same name, which is one of the Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese literature; and an original animated short film inspired by the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on humans and other species.
The projects will be jointly developed and financed by Lion Forge Animation and Starlight Media. Lion Forge Animation and Starlight will collaborate on the development, pre-production and creation of story, character design, BGs and other assets. Animation work on the projects will be done at the Lion Forge Animation studio in St. Louis, Missouri.
Commenting on the partnership, David Steward II says, “We operate on the premise of championing diversity, so crossing boarders to collaborate with partners like Starlight Media is a move we’re very happy to make in the spirit of achieving a desired content slate that reflects diverse voices and stories. Aligning with Peter and the Starlight team on this joint venture together feels natural because we all share the same goals and philosophy when it comes to creating content. Lion Forge Animation is committed to establishing a strong brand identity that equates to the best animated projects in the world and this strategic partnership allows for greater economies of scale with a premier partner in Starlight that is among the most dynamic and visionary companies in the industry.”
Peter Luo stated, “We have a great deal of admiration and respect for the incredible work that is being done out of Lion Forge Animation and are very excited about this new multi-year, multi-picture partnership that will allow us to create groundbreaking content with family friendly messaging. We want to be in business with Lion Forge Animation because we share a common vision, not just on taste and preferences of films, but on the execution of a business model that will bring high quality, very entertaining films to the marketplace.”
Luo added, “This partnership will allow us to bring the highest quality Hollywood content to the Chinese audience, as well as local language adaptations, and merchandising opportunities. The China film industry has been one of the fastest growing industries in the world and we are excited to work with David and the Lion Forge Animation team, who not only have strong passion for the China market, but also respect and understand the differences and uniqueness of the local audience and ecosystem in China. Our partnership will leverage the resources and strengths of both companies to deliver the highest caliber content to a global audience.”
Given the relevance of the COVID-19 animated short, production is being fast tracked for an April start. Lion Forge Animation and Starlight will simultaneously begin developing “Journey to the West”.
Launched less than a year ago, Lion Forge Animation contributes to the growth of Lion Forge IP with TV series and feature film adaptations and is one of the only African-American owned animation studios in the world, but unmatched in size and scale (and the only African-American owned studio with an Oscar®). The studio sits within Steward II’s holding company Polarity, which houses media businesses including the Lion Forge comics publishing unit. Steward II has been putting resources behind his vision of expanding the market for comics and comic-related pop culture to new age groups and demographics since the early 2010s, building a portfolio of titles and imprints that feature characters and creators from a wide variety of backgrounds. He’s extended that vision and ethic to the larger media landscape with an organization that can orchestrate content development, production and distribution across different channels.
With Lion Forge Animation, Steward II is widening the diversity of creative voices available in the animated space. The company’s goal remains in line with what Steward II and his team accomplished in publishing – to showcase a variety of authentic voices and experiences through their work, whether created internally or through partnership with top talent.
About Lion Forge Animation
Lion Forge Animation is a media company that creates animated content that challenges expectations and reflects the diversity of modern viewing audiences. The culturally significant and critically acclaimed short “Hair Love” was the studio’s first release, and won an Academy Award® in 2020, for “Best Animated Short Film.” Founded in 2019, Lion forge Animation is a subsidiary of Polarity, a diversified global media company established in 2018 by David Steward II.
Polarity is a diversified global media company founded in 2018, with a mission to bring authentic content to a diverse global audience. To create a richer content experience and offering, we believe in the value of embracing diversity and highlighting opposing views and voices. The Polarity portfolio includes Oni-Lionforge Publishing Company, Lion Forge Animation, Illustrated Syndicate, and Magnetic Press. Find out more at www.polarityltd.com. Polarity on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/polarity-llc/
STARLIGHT, born from content and accomplished in content.
Great content is created by the genius, a combination of craftsmanship and talent. STARLIGHT joins hands with talented content creators. Starting from incubation of the IP seeds, STARLIGHT builds up an IP system and shapes up an eco-industry based on content.
Up to April 2018, STARLIGHT has signed with 9 directors whose cumulative global BO is over $30bn. In the next 5 years, more than 50 A-level directors across the world are to join the STARLIGHT family, together with 10 Chinese-English bilingual young directors to develop the Chinese-language film market in the long run.
Creating contents in Hollywood, developing industries in mainland China and operating capitals in Hong Kong, with the products, industry and capital as fulcrums, STARLIGHT has established a stable golden triangle in the global entertainment industry.
It might be a long run, but we never stopped running.
For more information, please visit http://www.starlightcul.com.hk/en/
# # # #
On behalf of Lion Forge Animation:
Rogers & Cowan
Dennis Dembia / firstname.lastname@example.org / 310.709.6193