Abu Dhabi establishes film fest

Oct. 9, 2007 at 1:43 PM
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ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates, Oct. 9 (UPI) -- Hollywood filmmakers Harvey Weinstein and Paul Haggis are planning to attend the first Middle East Film Festival in Abu Dhabi, Variety.com said Tuesday.

Slated to run Oct. 14-19, the festival will include 31 features, shorts and documentaries from across the region.

Weinstein, co-chief of The Weinstein Company film studio, will launch the festival's Film Financing Circle with a speech about the state of international co-productions, the trade paper said.

Haggis' Iraq drama, "In the Valley of Elah," is scheduled to screen as one of the festival's special presentations.

Haggis, who wrote and directed "Crash," will also deliver a master class for aspiring Arab filmmakers.

In addition to Weinstein and Haggis, representatives from Relativity Media, BBC Films and Warner Independent Pictures are expected to attend the festival.

Abu Dhabi officials recently signed a deal with Warner Bros. that includes a $500 million film fund, $500 million videogame fund, and construction of Warner Bros.-licensed multiplexes and a hotel and theme park in Abu Dhabi, Variety.com said.

The Abu Dhabi Media Co., one of the partners in the WB deal, is also sponsoring a $100,000 cash prize at the festival for aspiring Emirati filmmakers.

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