CEO and founder Thomas Hopkins and producing partner Tony Dunoyer, announced today the formation of Griot Pictures Entertainment (GPE). The production and development company will co-produce and co-finance both studio and independent film and television projects "with mainstream appeal." Griot's first two projects are in pre-production, "Chevalier" and "Minion," the group announced Thursday.

"Chevalier," is a period-piece set in pre-revolutionary France based on the rise, fall, and rediscovery of the real-life Chevalier de Saint George, who was also known as "The Black Mozart." A fencing and musical superstar in the late 1700's, Le Chevalier de Saint George was also a hero during the French Revolution. The film is written by screenwriter Paris Qualles ("The Tuskegee Airmen").

Hopkins is currently co-writing the screenplay for the horror film, "Minion." which is based on the first two novels from LA Banks' vampire/huntress series, "Minion" and "The Awakening." The plot centers on a budding music diva who has a higher calling as a slayer. The company is also developing "The Peculiar Patriot," an independent docu-dramedy that is described by Griot as "part Whoopi Goldberg style one-woman-show and part 'Fahrenheit 911.'"

"We believe "Chevalier" and "Minion" will strongly advance two classic genres still very popular with global audiences--the period-adventure drama and the vampire/demon-slayer horror film," said Hopkins about their debut projects in a statement.

Additionally, GPE co-produced independent romantic-drama "Premium" (Pete Chatmon) with Double 7 Film and Palm-Star. The film premiered in March at the Miami International Film Festival and stars Zoe Saldana, Dorian Missick, Hill Harper, and Eva Pigford. Griot is based in New York.