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Relativity Starts Production on First Chinese Joint Venture: Comedy 21 and Over

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood October 27, 2011 at 12:33PM

Relativity Media's landmark alliance with China's Huaxia Film Distribution Company could make all the difference for the company's success going forward. That is if they make the right movies. Low-budget comedy 21 and Over is the first of many projects that Relativity plans to shoot and co-finance in partnership with Sky Land, their new production and distribution entity run by Relativity, SAIF Partners and IDG China Media.
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Thompson on Hollywood

Relativity Media's landmark alliance with China's Huaxia Film Distribution Company could make all the difference for the company's success going forward. That is if they make the right movies. Low-budget comedy 21 and Over is the first of many projects that Relativity plans to shoot and co-finance in partnership with Sky Land, their new production and distribution entity run by Relativity, SAIF Partners and IDG China Media.

Principal photography on scenes in China began shooting in Linyi, Shandong on October 26, 2011. Check out this friendly quote from the local dignitary Zhang Shajun, Party Secretary of Linyi Municipal Committee of the Chinese Party of Communism (CPC), who is identified as more important than the mayor:

“Linyi is a beautiful city and we welcome international filmmakers to come to Linyi to make beautiful worldwide films, and particularly welcome my good friend Ryan Kavanaugh and his great company Relativity to be shooting in our historic city. We promise to provide the best service possible in order to help make the movie successful worldwide.”


 
21 and Over stars Miles Teller (Footloose), Justin Chon (The Twilight Saga), Skylar Astin (Taking Woodstock) and Sarah Wright (The House Bunny). Written and directed by comedy writers Jon Lucas and Scott Moore (The Hangover), the film is about two long-time buddies who drag a straight-arrow chum to celebrate his twenty-first birthday-- the night before a crucial medical school interview. Needless to say a wild misadventure ensues.

Joining the Relativity and Sky Land production as producers are The Fighter producers David Hoberman and Todd Lieberman (Mandeville Films) and Andy Yan of SAIF and Hugo Shong of IDG in association with Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Produced (Limitless). The film has already started filming in Seattle, Washington, with additional filming under way in Linyi, Shandong.
 

Sky Land is a fully-funded, vertically-integrated film and multimedia production, distribution and financing company.  It was previously jointly owned and controlled by SAIF Partners, a leading Asian Private Equity Firm, and IDG China Media, a China-focused investment arm of Boston-headquartered International Data Group. Relativity Media joined as an equal owner as part of their new endeavor and business plan to develop, produce, distribute and acquire Chinese material that also possesses worldwide appeal. The strategic alliance announced with Huaxia makes this joint venture the first and only government sanctioned pact.  Huaxia is the largest distributor of film in China and one of the most respected film companies in the country releasing such titles as Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1, the Harry Potter franchise, Transformers, Kung-Fu Panda, Fast Five, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, 2012, Alice in Wonderland and Sherlock Holmes. Sky Land  also oversees and is partnered with a China-based RMB fund to co-invest in local film and television content and production, which is the equivalent of $100 million US dollars. Most recently, it co-produced Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, inspired by the worldwide best-selling novel by Lisa See, with screenplay penned by Academy Award® winning writer Ron Bass (Amelia) and directed by Wayne Wong (The Joy Luck Club).

This article is related to: Genres, Independents, In Production, comedy, Relativity


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.