EXCLUSIVE: Labid Aziz’s People of Culture Studios has entered into a joint venture with Adel Nur’s management and production company Atomik Content to co-manage talent and develop, produce and distribute features, TV series and hybrid projects with a focus on elevated action films.
The first talent signed through the JV is Professional Fighters League Founder & President Ray Sefo, who will work with other MMA fighters and Hollywood talent to create and develop ensemble and elevated action-thrillers in the sub-$15M budget range.
Sefo is a semi-retired New Zealand kickboxer, boxer, mixed martial artist, fight promoter and actor who founded the mixed martial arts league PFL in 2018. The six-time Muay Thai World Champion and eight-time K-1 World Grand Prix Finals tournament participant has been acting since 1995 and made his professional wrestling debut at Inoki Bom-Ba-Ye 2012 in Japan, where he and his tag team partner Hiromi Amada were defeated by Atsushi Sawada & Hideki Suzuki. Since retiring from mixed martial arts competitions in 2015, he moved to Las Vegas, Nevada, where he continues to train out of Xtreme Couture Mixed Martial Arts and be instrumental in PFL’s current growth and success.
“With the success and continued growth of PFL, I really wanted to lean in on my mission to provide more opportunities for growth and success for the highly talented and multi-faceted athletes we have in the PFL and beyond,” said Sefo. “After spending some time with Andy and Labid, I knew PoC Studios was where I wanted to be and where I wanted to build something related to my film and tv efforts.
Added the veteran fighter: “There are some extremely talented creatives who also happen to be fighters and we want to support them and design and build content with them, for them and around them. We strongly believe innovative content of great quality can come out of such a partnership. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, John Cena and Dave Bautista have gone from the ring to the big screen, and have become box office legends. And they are well-known for their action movies but they also cross genres and are multifaceted talent and are also doing comedy and kids programming as well.”
Remarked PoC Studios’ Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer Andrew Cosby: “We want to do for the action genre what Blumhouse did for horror by producing smart, independently financed action films at budgets that are big enough to pack the eponymous punch while still being modest enough to allow for the introduction of new names and faces — both in front of and behind the camera. In short, we plan to build the action franchises of tomorrow and the stars that go along with them.”
Commented Aziz: “By partnering with a globally-positioned producer/manager like Adel and having Ray be our first signing, I think Andy and I are laying a strong foundation to be able to build and design smart and elevated ensemble action-thrillers in the sub $15 million budget range. And most importantly, I know this will be fun and that’s so important to us. Actors want to hang out with fighters, fighters want to hang out with actors, they already do! Then we mix in the amazing diverse talent out there and using the old studio model, we can truly be additive in creating the stars of tomorrow. What’s not to love here!”
“Having worked with Labid in the past and getting to see the power of Andy’s creative mind at work over the past couple of years, I knew PoC Studios was a place I wanted to plant a flag,” said Nur in closing. “Together, we’ve made it our mission to create content for a global audience by focusing on unique stories, diverse talent and locations. All whilst delivering fun and exciting genre pictures. We want to cater to a growing appetite for global action films and connect with an audience craving for new narratives and stories from around the world.”
PoC Studios is a content studio offering an all-inclusive approach to producing, financing, and distributing film and TV content intended for a global audience. Among PoC’s initial slate is the film Tokyo Under Night, written by Academy Award winner Ron Bass (Rain Man), which is now out to talent, with a subsequent TV offshoot also in the works. Also on the slate is the film Yasuke: Soul of a Samurai, which is likewise from Bass.
PoC recently partnered with Man of Action Entertainment (Ben 10, Big Hero 6), Creation Station and Composition Media to make the 3D family animated feature Sky & Luna based on the original IP from Creation Station. The company also recently acquired North American rights to Kim Bass’s comedy A Snowy Day in Oakland and will release the film in theaters nationwide this winter.
Nur is known for producing titles including Hollow Point, Invincible and Warhunt. His company Atomatik Content is currently in development on Kingman, written and to be directed by Nacho Arenas, and in pre-production on The Tomb for an early 2023 start date.