EXCLUSIVE: Former Wayfarer COO/CFO Labid Aziz is launching LA-based film and TV company PoC Studios with a slate of projects including Tokyo-set TV series Tokyo Undernight, written by Oscar-winner Ron Bass (Rain Man)
Aziz, who is in Cannes this week to help launch the company, has founded the firm with sovereign wealth fund advisor and former European pro basketball player V. Marbue Dennis II. Both men will serve as Co-Chief Executive Officers with comic book creator, writer and producer Andrew Cosby, known for co-creating TV series Eureka and producing action movie Two Guns, joining as Chief Creative Officer.
The new company says it will provide support from development through production and distribution. It is aiming to work on projects with a diverse bent and commercial and global appeal.
PoC has already agreed to collaborate with companies including Rogue Wave Entertainment, 62 Brands, Northstar Thailand Studio and Jeff Gomez’s Starlight Runner Entertainment to facilitate IP and content creation.
The sprawling espionage drama Tokyo Undernight is set in 1960’s Tokyo and will hone in on a prestige club with top American acts where secrets, power plays and conspiracies are the currency. The series will span espionage, gangsters, treason, romance, politics and murder.
The series will be a co-production with Japanese production company DreamKid Inc. Executive producers are Hiroki Ohwada, Ron Bass, Shintaro Yamamoto and Andrew Cosby. Co-executive producers are Labid Aziz, Tai Truesdell, Shiki Bebeko, Paul Guilfoile, Masato Kobayashi, Shohei Watanabe, Michael Ikeda and Isaac Wu.
Meanwhile, Cosby is working on a film about India with Suparn Verma, writer and director on hit Amazon series The Family Man.
Also on the slate is animated series Ninja Masx, which is a co-production between PoC Studios, NorthStar Thailand Studio, Starlight Runner Entertainment and Ryoichi Wada’s company Hairu Entertainment. The series will bring Wada’s manga trilogy about ninja lore to life and is written by Wada (One Cut Of The Dead), and he will executive-produce the first season arc with Andrew Cosby. Producer Jeff Gomez has been tapped to develop the story world for streaming with Wada. Co-executive producers are Tai Truesdell, Labid Aziz, Ray Sefo, Sirisak Koshpasharin and Isaac Wu.
In 2019, Labid was brought on to help build and launch Wayfarer Studios as its Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer. During his tenure the company structured a Warner Bros co-production and co-finance deal, sold the company’s first film Clouds to Disney+, and struck a first-look deal with Proctor & Gamble.
Prior to that he helped launch Starzione, the US-based production arm of Korean producer, Dong-Joo Kim (Oldboy), and before that he worked at Mucho Mas Media. He has also worked at two merchant banks and trading firms.
Commented Aziz: “Since 2016, I’ve been trying to build something that wasn’t reactionary to how our industry was changing rather complimentary to how our industry was evolving and in line with why I jumped into entertainment to start, PoC Studios represents that for me. It’s also an acronym that truly embraces our who and why. We’re people of culture who believe in the power of content and aim to be a protector of creatives.”
Added Andrew Cosby: “I’ve known Labid for several years and have always admired his multicultural approach and desire to change how our industry looks and operates. It’s an exciting new model for making film and television, one that empowers creators and their vision. And this starts right at the top. I trust Labid’s business vision in the same way he trusts me creatively, and that is what makes this all work so well. It’s not just about the projects, it’s about the people involved. And I get to feel like Indiana Jones, delving into undiscovered treasures from other cultures, searching for rich, untold stories, and constantly exploring innovative new material. I have the most exciting studio job I can imagine.”
Marbue Dennis II commented: “I knew Labid was the perfect partner for mechanizing Hollywood for the greater good based on my own aspirations and goals as a Liberian American. At PoC, we embody the spirit of abundance & endeavor to share our visions with the world.”
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