China's Starlight Selects First Round of Filmmakers to Benefit From $50M Fund

Peter Luo
Tommaso Boddi/WireImage

Peter Luo

Dubbed the "Stars Collective," the program is designed to support young directors and heighten diversity in the global film industry. The first batch of 11 filmmakers chosen includes eight women.

Starlight Media, the Hong Kong stock exchange-listed film financing company, revealed on Wednesday its first selection of emerging filmmakers who will benefit from a new $50 million talent development fund.

Dubbed the "Stars Collective," the program is designed to support young directors and heighten diversity in the global film industry, the company says. The initial selection of 11 filmmakers includes eight female directors and a diverse mix of nationalities, ethnicities, races and personal and professional backgrounds.

Starlight has allocated $50 million to fund the development of projects from an eventual total of 30-50 emerging filmmakers. If the project gains traction, the company may up the fund to $100 million.

Lead by CEO Peter Luo, Starlight Media is best known for its successful early investment in Crazy Rich Asians. It also co-financed Roland Emmerich's WWII action film Midway and Open Road's Thurgood Marshall biopic, Marshall, starring Chadwick Boseman.

Starlight says it is in talks with prominent Hollywood directors who will serve as creative mentors for the emerging filmmakers in the Stars Collective. The program also will help the directors tap resources and support from film commissions, funding organizations and independent producers around the world, Starlight says.

The first batch of directors signed on to participate in the program have demonstrated creative promise and varying degrees of success with small-scale early projects. The talent includes: Soudade Kaadan (The Day I Lost My Shadow), Hikari, aka Mitsuyo Miyazaki (Tsuyako), Kevin Wilson Jr. (My Nephew Emmett), Malika Zouhali-Worrall (Call Me Kuchu), Avril Z. Speaks (Jinn), Amy Ma (producer of Taipei Suicide Story), Che Grayson (Scatter Brains), Nadav Kurtz (Paraíso), Marion Hill (Bird of Prey), Raed Alsemari (Dunya’s Day) and Phyllis Tam (Wish Upon the Moon).