AMBI Group Launches Joint Venture Film Company in China

AMBI Group Andrea Iervolino and Monika Bacardi H 2016
Fabrizio Di Giulio

The new Chinese company, a partnership with Beijing-based SinoLicensing, will finance and co-produce both Chinese and English-language content.

AMBI Group, the film development, financing and distribution consortium led by Andrea Iervolino and Monika Bacardi, has partnered with Beijing-based SinoLicensing to establish a new joint venture in China.

Named AMBI-SINO, the Beijing-headquartered company "will finance and produce Chinese original content, co-produce English-speaking content with Chinese partners, and serve as a local production partner for AMBI’s productions and third-party projects," the partners said Monday in a statement.

SinoLicensing was founded in 2015 by CEO Chuan “Melody” Bi, a former managing director at News Corp. and the IDG-backed IDG China Media Fund, which invested in Legendary Pictures and the digital Chinese version of National Geographic. SinoLicensing has offices in Beijing, Shenzhen and Los Angeles and is focused on film marketing and promotion as well as licensing Hollywood IP to the Chinese consumer products industry.

In 2015, AMBI Group acquired Exclusive Media Group's film library, which includes commercial hits and cult movies such as Begin Again, Cruel Intentions, Donnie Darko, End of Watch, Memento, Sliding Doors, Undefeated and The Way Back, among others. AMBI also owns the sequel and remake rights to the EMG library.

Among the titles on AMBI Group's production slate are James Franco’s post-apocalyptic thriller Future World, starring Franco, Milla Jovovich, Lucy Liu, Method Man, Suki Waterhouse, Snoop Dogg; psychological thriller Black Butterfly starring Antonio Banderas and Jonathan Rhys Meyers; and a remake of Christopher Nolan’s cult classic Memento.

Plans for AMBI-SINO also include producing Chinese-language remakes of AMBI Group's films, as well as co-financing local Chinese content for both theatrical and online distribution. The Beijing-based team also will work on other content formats, including games.

“The ability to operate in China as a Chinese company, with highly respected local partners, will multiply and streamline our opportunities there and around the world,” Iervolino said in a statement.

Added Melody Bi: "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."