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Where is the regional film hub?
Qatar has just joined the race to become the Middle East’s film hub for regional movie makers.
August 25, 2009 1:29 by Aarti Nagraj
“We didn’t want to be another competition film festival. Abu Dhabi and Dubai are based on the model of an international film festival like Cannes and Venice and Berlin,” she said. The festival will see more engagement from the local population as it aimed to be “community-minded”, she told Reuters.
But the UAE has already started trying to milk the regional film industry; Imagenation Abu Dhabi, the film fund from the UAE capital set out $1 billion for 40 feature films. Edward Borgerding, head of Abu Dhabi Media Company (ADMC), told The New York Times that the company will invest in six to eight movies a year, with budgets of $10 million to $50 million. The company also claims that it will “support Middle East filmmakers and Arabian film production.”
In May 2007, the Abu Dhabi government announced the creation of a film fund, which, according to Variety magazine set aside $500 million to finance Arab films. Yemeni-British filmmaker Bader Ben Hirsi (“A New Day in Old Sana’a”) reportedly received $10 million from the fund to make “Arabian Sands,” a film about Empty Quarter explorer Wilfred Thesiger.
While Arab filmmakers are having newer and better opportunities open to them in the region, will it lead to competition between Doha, Dubai, Abu Dhabi? And if there is a competition to become the regional film hub, which city do you think will win?
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