Abu Dhabi Film Fest 2007: New Event to be Headed by Jon Fitzgerald
July 17, 2007–Abu Dhabi film officials have appointed Slamdance festival co-founder Jon Fitzgerald director of the inaugural Middle East Film Festival, set for October 12-17.
In addition to co-founding Slamdance in 1995 and serving as its exec-director for two years, Fitzgerald was also director of the AFI Film Fest between 1997-1999 and exec director of the Santa Barbara Film Festival. He also helped launching the Bahamas fest.
I was struck by Abu Dhabis commitment to developing a lasting impression and the potential impact on the regional and international arts committee, Fitzgerald said.
Officials also announced Monday that the event will have a competitive section, the Black Pearl Awards, with nods to be bestowed on both interna-tional and local helmers. Black Pearl winners also will receive coin to make their next projects.
Abu Dhabi officials are positioning the festival with an industry focus. We want to be the Davos of the film world, festival exec director Nashwa Al-Ruwaini said.
In addition to local film premieres, the event will include a finance conference. Festival officials hope to involve the lucrative pool of Arab investors, particularly those based in the Persian Gulf, who have previously avoided putting money into the film business.
This is a great opportunity to provide information, resources and education to an enthusiastic audience seeking investment opportunities in the motion picture space, Al-Ruwaini added.
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