EXCLUSIVE: New York- and Shanghai-based hedge fund Han Capital Management last week said it had raised $500M to finance Chinese film and TV projects. Founder John Liu, a former Citigroup and SAV Capital Management exec, now tells me he has has partnered with American United Entertainment’s Robert Rodriguez (no relation to the film director) to produce 15 U.S.-based films under Han Capital sister entertainment unit, Han Pictures & Media Corp. The partners are working with an initial $200M fund.
Lance Dow is Head of Production at Han Pictures’ U.S. outfit and Rodriguez will serve as Managing Partner. He will co-head development and production on a slate of films and TV projects with budgets as high as $100M. Rodriguez is a former fund manager for Feature Film Partners. His recent credits include the 2014 Danny Trejo-starrer Bullet.
While there are no U.S. projects currently identified, Liu tells me Han Capital Management is capitalized at about $1B and that the film fund monies are in place. Asked why he’s focusing so heavily on the movie biz with a spate of announcements in the past several weeks, Liu says he constantly had people asking him to finance their projects, but he didn’t want to be a middle-man and so decided to do it himself.
The goal for the U.S. subsidiary is to help fund, partner, produce, develop and distribute 15 projects through 2017. Rodriguez is currently seeking studio finance and distribution relationships and joint ventures within the industry.
The fund Han announced last week has two Chinese projects in development, TV drama Empress Of Tang and WWII feature In The Times Of Locusts. Liu says they are out to A-list Hollywood writers, directors and exec producers on both.