EXCLUSIVE: Los Angeles-based finance and management outfit Kirin Media Ventures has launched a $25m fund, with initial backing from Chinese investors, to finance a slate of US theatrical features.

Five projects have already been identified for the fund, including adaptations of Andre Norton’s sci-fi fantasy franchise Witch World and PlayStation video game, TV series and graphic novel Gungrave, which Kirin will co-produce with LA-based Convergence Entertainment.

The fund’s initial slate also include crime thriller Stone, from the writer and producer of Bus 657, Stephen Cyrus Sepher. 

“We are excited to launch the fund with a focus on investing in independent films with commercial appeal and studio distribution,” said Kirin Media managing partner Jeff Chao, who previously managed the $250m fund between Participant Media and ImageNation Abu Dhabi.

“We want to recognise our strategic partner Leo Jianjun Zheng from the Shanghai AllBright Law Firm for helping us navigate the Chinese investment landscape. We also look forward to fulfilling our film financing strategy in Hollywood through our US partners Rashaun Williams and Charles E. Bush.”

Chao has managed film funds for the past eight years and was also involved in the formation of a $100m Chinese-Hollywood film fund.

The Participant/ImageNation fund backed films such as The Help, Best Exotic Marigold Hotel I & II, Contagion and Snitch.

The new fund will be based out of the Shanghai Free Trade Zone, which can now be used for outbound motion picture investments in Hollywood. The fund will invest in films with international appeal and focus on the action, thriller and horror genres. It will eventually have a mirror fund in the US.

“Entertainment is fast becoming a hot investment area and Hollywood is by far the hottest investment focus, especially with the opening of the Shanghai Free Trade Zone,” said the fund’s strategic partner Leo Jianjun Zheng.

“Chinese investors, when accessing this new area, need management partners like Kirin Media, who provides extensive resources and expertise in professional management and advisory to enhance efficiency while reducing risk.”