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James Schamus Makes First-Look Deal with China’s Meridian Entertainment

James Schamus Makes First-Look Deal with China's Meridian Entertainment

James Schamus’s New York-based film and TV production company Symbolic Exchange has found a backer for its English-language slate. It makes perfect sense that one of the few creative executives and producers in Hollywood to have worked successfully on Chinese projects, producing and writing with long-time collaborator Ang Lee such films as “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” would make a pact with a Chinese company.

Chinese start-up Meridian Entertainment has entered into a first-look and strategic cooperation agreement with Symbolic Exchange and will provide development and production funding, while the two companies also co-develop Chinese projects. 

Schamus will serve as a chief creative and strategic advisor to Meridian, as it seeks to widen its investments outside China. 
“While we continue to build our portfolio in China, the world’s fastest growing film market,” stated Meridian’s Jennifer Dong, “we know that the foundation to success is still great films by great filmmakers, working globally across cultures, and this is precisely the track record that James brings to our venture.” 
“There’s nothing more exciting in this business than being able to work with people as they build something new from the ground up.” said Schamus. “Jennifer and Meridian’s ambitions are paired with an independent spirit that will allow us to work on a broad array of projects together, in the U.S., in China, and around the world.”
Meridian Entertainment (Beijing) Co., Ltd. was recently founded by CEO Dong. To date, Meridian has made investments in several Chinese films, including hit “Running Man.” Dong previously served as Managing Director and General Manager of CFG-TA Digital Cinema Investment Co., Ltd., and CEO of Universal Cinema Services Co., Ltd., a joint venture of TA and Christie Digital.
Schamus’s Symbolic Exchange Productions, LLC recently announced the hiring of Joe Pirro to head production. Schamus, the former CEO of Focus Features, which released “Moonrise Kingdom,” “Milk,” “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” “The Kids are All Right,” “The Pianist,” “Coraline,” and “The Dallas Buyers Club,”  is also Professor of Professional Practice in Columbia University’s School of the Arts, where he teaches film history and theory. 

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