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The MEIFF delegation to Berlin

Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage and Middle East International Film Festival executives conclude Berlinale delegation

Abu Dhabi, 25th February 2009: ADACH and MEIFF executives along with MEIFF film programmers concluded their week long delegation to the 59th Berlin International Film Festival, returning to Abu Dhabi with a handful of potential co-operations and films for this year’s Middle East International Film Festival and other ADACH film-related projects.

The delegation to Berlin included, Director General of the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage, Mohamed Khalaf Al Mazrouei, Special Projects Manager, Eissa Al Mazrouei and Special Project Manager Bassem Kudsi; the newly recruited Abu Dhabi Film Commissioner, David Shephard and MEIFF Executive Director and Board Member Nashwa Al Ruwaini and MEIFF programmers Nancy Collet and Intishal Tamimi. Also present with the MEIFF delegation from Abu Dhabi was Ed Borgerding, CEO of the Abu Dhabi Media Company (ADMC) and the recently launched $500 Million Film Funding body of ADMC ‘Imagenation’ and Chief Financial Officer Stephan Brunner.

During the week long trip the delegation met with a series of Berlinale executives and departments to discuss their initiatives and explore how Abu Dhabi can benefit and adapt projects based on their successes. Meetings were held with The Co-Production Market and World Cinema Fund, the Talent Campus and Berlinale Festival Director Dieter Kosslick.

Nashwa Al Ruwaini and Ed Borgerding also participated in the law company Hogen and Hartson’s private panel discussion entitled ‘Movie goes Middle East’, designed to enlighten the select audience of filmmakers and film executives on the projects and opportunities that have emerged out of the Middle East Region. Speaking on the panel were, Ed Borgerding as the Keynote speaker, Nashwa Al Ruwaini on behalf of MEIFF and her production company Pyramedia, Shivani Pandaya, Managing Director of the Dubai International Film Festival, Frederic Sichler, President of Rotana Studios; Prof. Dr. Kerstin Stutterheim, film Professor at the College for Film and Television ‘Konrad Wolf’; Raymond J. Batla, Jr. Partner at Hogen and Hartson Abu Dhabi; Dr. Christoph Wagner, Partner at Hogen and Hartson in Berlin and Christiane Stutzle, Counsel for Hogen and Hartson in Berlin.

The discussions focused on a number of key issues in the Middle East region including the developments of film production to date in the Middle East, the potentials for co-productions with Europe and the necessity of Film Festivals in the region to provide platforms for filmmakers. Discussions also focused on how Abu Dhabi is spearheading a number of initiatives to train young filmmakers with institutes such as the New York Film Academy in Abu Dhabi and ‘The Circle’ initiative that was launched out of MEIFF in 2007.

The panel was followed by a question and answer session, giving the audience the opportunity to ask the relevant questions that the filmmakers in the West may have about the potentials of business development in the region related to film.

MEIFF 2009 will have a number of exciting projects announced over the coming months, promising to bring an even greater slate of films to the UAE’s audiences.

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