Relativity's First Film Under Sky Land Partnership Begins Production in China

3:11 PM PST 10/27/2011 by Alex Ben Block

"21 and Over" will be directed by "The Hangover" scribes Jon Lucas and Scott Moore.

Relativity Media has announced the production start in China of 21 and Over, its first movie under the recently announced Sky Land partnership, which partners the U.S. company with an arm of the government of China.

Relativity said it is the first of many films they expect to make with China. Their partners in Sky land are SAIF Partners, an Asian Private Equity Firm and IDG China Media, which specializes in investments in China. IDG is part of International Data Group of Boston.

It is the first movie made since Relativity announced its strategic alliance with Huaxia Film Distribution Company, an official Chinese government distribution agency, which is the largest film distributor in China. A press release Thursday called the alliance the first and only deal with a U.S. film company sanctioned by the Chinese government.

The comedy is said to be about buddies who celebrate a 21st birthday with a night of "debauchery and mayhem that none of them will ever forget" on the night before one of them has an important interview to get into medical school.

The youthful cast includes Miles Teller (Footloose), Justin Chon (The Twilight Saga), Skylar Astin (Taking Woodstock) and Sarah Wright (The House Bunny).

The script is by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore, whose credits include The Hangover. They are also directing.

The producers are Mandeville Films' David Hoberman (The Fighter) and Todd Lieberman (The Fighter), along with Andy Yan of SAIF and Hugo Shong of IDG. The Relativity and Sky Land production is being done in association with Richard Branson's Virgin Produced (Limitless).

Some footage has already been shot in Seattle. Production commenced Oct. 26 in the city of Linyi, in the south of China's Shandong province.

The Chinese Communist Party Secretary of Linyi's Municipal Committee, Zhang Shajun, who ranks above the local mayor, issued a statement welcoming the production to his city and adding that he "particularly welcome(s) my good friend (Relativity CEO) Ryan Kavanaugh and his great company" to his "historic city," adding: "We promise to provide the best service possible in order to help make the movie successful worldwide."

Tucker Tooley, Relativity's co-President said the Sky land partners love this "hysterical film and it's gratifying they want to build a foundation immediately alongside our cast and crew. We are very much looking forward to shooting in China, especially in a place as amazing as Linyi."

Sky Land also has a partnership with China-based RMB fund to co-invest in local Chinese productions, in an amount equal to $100 million U.S. dollars. Most recently, RMB was involved with Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, directed by Wayne Wang, written by Ron Bass and produced by Wendi Murdoch, wife of News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch.

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