Investors sought for $131mn birth of Islam movie

Production of Messenger of Peace due to start early 2009, set for global release.
Investors sought for $131mn birth of Islam movie
By Andy Sambidge
Thu 30 Oct 2008 07:08 AM

Investors are being sought for a major new $131 million film being produced depicting the birth of Islam.

The producers of The Messenger of Peace have appointed Dubai-based Millennium Finance Corporation to attract a limited number of "high quality co-investors" for the project, it was announced on Thursday.

Production of the film, which will reach a global audience of both Muslims and non-Muslims, is expected to start in early 2009. The producers will start an investment roadshow throughout the GCC region shortly.

The Messenger of Peace will be only the second movie of its kind on the subject of Islam, whereas more than 30 major films have been made about the early history of Christianity.

Films based on religious subjects have been largely successful in the history of film.

The Message is still much in demand today after more than 30 years since its release, while Mel Gibson’s 2004 film Passion of the Christ was a big box office hit.

In addition to global distribution channels which cover the US, Europe, Asia, Africa and Middle East markets, the producers intend to reach out to people through merchandising channels to help alleviate many misgivings about Islam and to make the venture commercially very successful.

The film’s investment vehicle will have full control over all revenues.

The producers have also appointed Dar Al Sharia Legal and Financial Consultancy LLC, the specialist Sharia consulting arm of Dubai Islamic Bank to ensure that the film is in keeping with the religion of Islam and portrays the early history of the religion with utmost authenticity and credibility.

The renowned Sharia scholar Dr Hussain Hamed Hussan, Director of Dar Al Sharia, will act as lead Sharia supervisor and along with the other Sharia scholars, will be closely involved in the development of the script for the film and its correct implementation.

Executive producer Hajja Subhia Abu Elheja, who is also a major investor in the film, said: “This project will bring good to the world and is also a fantastic investment opportunity which will bring Sharia-compliant attractive returns.”

Oscar Zoghbi, producer, added: “We are looking at selecting a limited number of best of breed potential co-investors who believe in the noble objectives of the film besides our investment case.

"The core objective is to not only tap into a market of 1.5 billion Muslims eager to experience a powerful and successful film conveying the true values of their religion but also a global market of non-Muslims.”

Sohail Zubairi, CEO, Dar Al Sharia said: “We are honoured to have been appointed to supervise the production team in making a new feature film about Islam and congratulate the producers for this bold step."

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