Alliance will see five films in production over the next 18 months, led by Cake starring Jennifer Aniston.

After Dark Films and China’s Shenghua Entertainment have struck a production alliance for a slate of films led by the Jennifer Aniston project Cake.

Pascal Borno and Scott Karol’s Conquistador Entertainment is handling sales on Cake at the EFM.

The production deal calls for five films in the dramatic, dark comedy and thriller genres over the next 18 months budgeted in the $7-10m range.

After Dark’s Courtney Solomon, who directed Getaway and An American Haunting, will produce through Cinelou Films, his new label with Mark Canton, and arranged the alliance with South China Media.

WME Global represents Cinelou Films and will assist in sourcing and packaging material on the slate.

Cake is based on Patrick Tobin’s Black List screenplay about an acerbic woman who comes to terms with a tragedy in the fallout of an acquaintance’s suicide.

Aniston will star and serve as executive producer. The director is Daniel Barnz, whose credits include Phoebe In Wonderland.

Solomon produces with We’re Not Brothers partner Ben Barnz and Echo Films partner Kristin Hahn. Shyam Madiraju and Canton are the executive producers.  

“The formation of Cinelou Films DHJ, and this new venture with Shenghua is a unique pact which allows us to give great projects a chance to be made for the right reasons without many of the usual limitations put on indie films,” said Solomon.

“Our goal is to find great material and great talent and let them do what they do best and Shenghua has proven a great partner to make that happen.”  

“We very much want to be a bridge between Hollywood and the greater China market and this investment is a key way of doing this,” said Shenghua Entertainment chairman Yu Wei-Chung.

“Of the zillions of Jennifer Aniston fans, I might be the biggest one of all,” said Barnz. “I’ve especially loved her more dramatic performances, and I can’t wait to watch her tackle a role that has such a brilliantly funny voice and so much raw pain.”

“I’m thrilled to be working alongside Courtney and Kristin, and so very appreciative of Cinelou’s commitment to Cake,” said Barnz.

“Patrick has penned a stunning script, and there’s no doubt Jennifer will amaze in a role that exploits both her comic and dramatic abilities. Daniel always gets terrific performances from his cast and brings great visual panache to his films.”

CAA and WME Global negotiated the Cake deal with Scott Karol on behalf of Cinelou and Conquistador.