EXCLUSIVE: Mike Pence, formerly of The Firm, has been hired by Bliss Media as a Los Angeles-based creative executive and talent manager as part of an expansion of the Chinese company’s U.S. operations. Bliss, which also has offices in Shanghai, handled the Chinese distribution of Mel Gibson’s Hacksaw Ridge, which grossed more than $70 million and set a box office record for its genre.

The company, which also engages in international film financing, development, production and talent management, recently began wholly financing and producing films, starting with the Chinese action feature S.M.A.R.T. Chase (aka The Shanghai Job) which starred Orlando Bloom. The company also co-financed and co-produced 2016’s Jackie, which was nominated for three Oscars including Best Actress for star Natalie Portman. It did the same with the 2017 film Kings, directed by Deniz Ergüven and starring Daniel Craig and Halle Berry.

Bliss Media invests in and produces projects with global appeal, acquires rights to films for Chinese distribution, and manages a slate of high-profile Chinese stars.

Pence joins Bliss after serving as creative executive at The Firm where he reported to Academy Award-nominated producer Robbie Brenner and was involved in features including 2017’s The Tribes of Palos Verdes and 2018 Sundance Audience Award winner Burden.

Prior to The Firm, Pence was at Relativity Studios where he also teamed with Brenner. Pence has also served in various positions at Film 44, Weed Road Pictures, Safehouse Pictures and Pandemonium Films.

“Mike’s experience and skillset fit perfectly into Bliss’ comprehensive strategy of connecting the Hollywood and Chinese filmed entertainment and finance industries,” said Bliss founder, CEO and president Wei Han. “His talent relationships and understanding of both the art and business of filmmaking make him an extremely valuable addition to our team, and we welcome his contributions with great anticipation.”

Upcoming releases from Bliss include the projects Destroyer, directed by Karyn Kusama and starring Nicole Kidman; and Resistance, directed by Jonathan Jakubowicz and starring Jesse Eisenberg.