1 billion dollars is the huge amount of money reported to be spent over the next 5 years in film production by Imagenation Abu Dhabi the just born jewel in the Abu Dhabi goldmine.
The fund will be devoted not only to develop and finance Arab (and Gulf) feature films, but also international movies. Abu Dhabi has already signed an agreement with Warner Bros (500 millions dollars) for a production fund which is going to release soon its first product, Robert Rodriguez’s Shorts. Together with film production, Abu Dhabi and WB also have a big thematic park project to be built in the UAE and a videogame fund of other 500 millions dollars.
This is not enough for the eager-to-invest emirate, which is aiming to launch itself as international movie hub, the “place to be” in terms of film industry. The upcoming Middle East Film Festival (oct. 10-19) will award the lucky winners with more than 1 million dollars in cash.
Dubai, which was the first in the Gulf to start betting on the movie industry having launched the first movie festival in the Gulf area and the huge Dubai Studios project, will not sit down and wait for its rival emirate to leave it behind. The fifth edition of the Dubai Film Festival (dec. 11-18) will launch the first Middle East Film Market, which is aimed –according to its organisers- to compete directly with Cannes and US markets. If it seems an ambitious project, Dubai is used to fulfil its most ambitious dreams with the help of its pockets.
At the moment Gulf capital are not heavily investing only at home, but all across the world. In Italy we have good example in many different sectors: from the business with stylish furniture designer Poltrona Frau to develop the brand in the UAE with Mubadala company, to real estate (all Gulf princes are heavily buying hotels, properties all across Italy) to the 2 billion euros investment in Palermo harbour by the Sultan of Oman. Even Italian government controlled electric company Enel has to pay the rent of its offices (around 30 millions euros in 2007) to the Saudi Al Rajhi Group.