Courtney Solomon and Mark Canton’s Cinelou Films has expanded its financing deal with Shenghua Entertainment to include a further five films and has greenlit The Yellow Birds to star Benedict Cumberbatch.

The extension doubles Cinelou’s war chest to $100m, to be split over 10 films. The arrangement with Shenghua for the first five films was structured in Berlin.

The Yellow Birds project stems from Cinelou’s partnership with Story Mining & Supply Co, which is financing. The Solution Entertainment Group will handle foreign sales in Cannes.

The project is based on Kevin Powers’ novel about two soldiers who head out to fight in Iraq. The older man promises to watch over the younger, teenage, soldier.

Story Mining CEO and president Jeffrey Sharp and president of production Evan Hayes acquired rights to the novel and developed the script and will produce with Solomon and Canton.

Chairman of Story Mining & Supply Co Jim Kohlberg is the executive producer. David Lowery most recently directed Sundance 2013 hit Ain’t Them Bodies Saints and adapted the screenplay.

Joining Cumberbatch on the cast are Tye Sheridan and Will Poulter. WME Global, CAA and UTA will handle US rights.