Ingenious Media Forms Co-Production Venture With China's Hejing Culture in $200M Deal

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The U.K. media company said the new venture will produce and co-finance a slate of independent films, some of which are expected to be official U.K.-China co-productions.

U.K. company Ingenious Media has reached a $200 million deal with Hejing Culture, a Chinese fund backed by private and government investment, to form a joint venture company to co-produce and co-finance a slate of independent films. 

Ingenious and Hejing said that they expect that a number of projects that result from the agreement will qualify as official Chinese co-productions, however this was not a requirement of the venture, leaving the door open to investments in purely Chinese or international films. The deal was announced Sunday at the Shanghai International Film Festival.

The partnership comes two years after the U.K. and China signed a landmark co-production treaty in the hopes of fostering closers ties between their two film industries. U.K. Minister of Culture Ed Vaizey offered a statement in support of the Ingenious-Hejing partnership on Sunday, saying, "It's fantastic to see collaborations such as this come about as a result of the landmark U.K.-China co-production treaty."

Founded in 1998 by Patrick McKenna, Ingenious has produced and co-financed hundreds of feature films (including last season’s Oscar contenders Brooklyn and Carol, as well global blockbusters like Avatar and Life of Pi) and more than 550 hours of television programming with partners including 20th Century Fox, Sony Pictures, NBCUniversal, Warner Bros., Paramount Pictures, Disney, Lionsgate, Film4, Pathé, the BBC, ITV and Endemol Shine.

“The global market for entertainment content is experiencing an exciting period of change — from the seismic shifts in individual consumption patterns to the unprecedented growth in China," said Ingenious CEO Neil Forster. "Any long-term global growth strategy has to involve an alignment with the right kind of partners, and we couldn’t be more delighted to be working alongside Hejing to continue to bring high-quality entertainment to global audiences.”

Added Hejing CEO Zhang Aiyi: "As a leading culture company under the SARFT system [the Chinese state administration for radio, film and TV production], Hejing has played a very important role in saving traditional Chinese culture by editing and republishing some of the most distinguished Chinese books from ancient times. Now that we have collected and have ownership of such important Chinese stories and their associated rights, it’s time to go international and show the world the charm of Chinese content and Chinese storytelling. We’re so honored to launch this program of internationalization by partnering with Ingenious, a wonderful film company with an unbelievable track record. I truly believe we can co-develop some great Western and Eastern film and TV projects together."