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Tue 16 Oct 2007 01:24 PM

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Abu Dhabi determined to move forward in film industry

UAE capital ready to put itself on world map with launch of new media company and number of deals signed since.

With the formation of the Abu Dhabi Media Company (ADMC), the UAE capital seems to be moving forward with determination to bridge the gap between it and the rest of the world. The inaugural Middle East International Film Festival has barely begun, and we already hear that Abu Dhabi has teamed up with Warner Bros. in a US $500m deal that will see the capital actively participate in the creation of an entire facility for feature film production and its distribution along with other activities such as the building of a huge theme park, hotel and several multiplex cinemas.

What is significant about the deal is that this will give Abu Dhabi the chance to understand the business of movie making better while Warner Bros will exploit the opportunity to reach out to Arab audiences by expanding its own local language film production business in the region.

Richard Fox, executive vice president, International, Warner Bros has promised: "We'll work closely with our partners each step of the way to impart our filmmaking experience and expertise, making sure that we're respectful and supportive of local customs and mores, both in our local film production and across all of these in-territory businesses."

The deal includes 50-50 investments from Abu Dhabi and Warner Bros. to develop and produce mutually agreed-upon, broad-appeal films. However, Warner Bros. will retain the worldwide distribution rights to these films. Separate from this arrangement, Warner Bros. Pictures International will work with ADMC to develop and produce a slate of Arabic-language films for local and pan-Arabic distribution.

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group will combine its expertise in all aspects of content with the Abu Dhabi Media Company's resources and capabilities to build Abu Dhabi's infrastructure for the development of new media and digital delivery systems.

Beyond this, the companies also plan to explore additional areas in which they can work together, including such ventures as production facilities, digital content distribution and retail opportunities in the Gulf region.

Although Abu Dhabi took its time coming out into the limelight, it looks like the UAE capital is now ready to do everything it will take to remain on the map.

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