EXCLUSIVE: The US-Chinese production company and the screenwriter development platform have launched the Orb Media China-Hollywood Screenwriting Fellowship.

 John Rhodes

The award will finance and develop up to four projects for production and distribution within the US and China each year.

Winners will each be offered a WGA-scale option fee of up to $13,374 against a purchase price of up to $133,739, depending on the final budget of each film. Each of the top 30 finallists will also be considered for first-look deals with Orb.

Orb is backed by private equity firm Falcon Investments and other financing partners including China Film Group and Zhong Ruan Investments.

“The big brass ring for sure is to make films that will be embraced by the world’s two largest markets with autonomy in both,” said Orb founder Peter Shiao. “Yet, for the amount of attention co-productions have gotten, so very little has been achieved.

“The reality is that it is a very hard thing to do. It does not happen by accident, and it all begins with stories that work in both worlds. Enough has been said about what it takes to make things work, and the rewards for doing so. It’s time to roll up our sleeves and really commit to doing it.”

Shiao also founded the annual US-China Film Summit and was a producer on the first US-Chinese co-production, Restless (1998).

Orb will also provide the four winners with round-trip travel to the Beijing Film Festival in April for mentorship and training in partnership with the Beijing Film Academy. 

“We are excited to partner with Orb Media Group to develop and launch big career opportunities for talented emerging screenwriters,” said John Rhodes (pictured), president of ScreenCraft. “We welcome writers of all backgrounds to apply for this uniquely international talent development programme.”

Special advisors to the programme will include producer Arthur Sarkissian (Rush Hour), producer Bill Mechanic (Hacksaw Ridge), Chinese producer Shan Dongbing, Chinese producer Tang Xiru, screenwriter Christopher Ford (Spider-Man: Homecoming), ScreenCraft co-founder Cameron Cubbison and Shiao. 

The final deadline for applications is February 10.