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February 13, 2013: Participant Media, the leading provider of entertainment that inspires and accelerates change, known for such critically acclaimed and commercially successful films as ‘An Inconvenient Truth’, ‘Food, Inc.’, ‘The Help’, ‘The Best Exotic Marigold Hote’l and Steven Spielberg’s ‘Lincoln’, and Doha Film Institute (DFI), a leading cultural organization established to support the growth of a sustainable film industry in Qatar and the Middle East, and backer of critically-acclaimed films such as ‘The Reluctant Fundamentalist’, ‘Where Do We Go Now’, ‘May in the Summer’, and ‘Just Like a Woman’, have formed a $100 million revolving fund to finance a slate of feature films, it was announced today by Jim Berk, CEO of Participant Media, and Abdulaziz Al-Khater, CEO of Doha Film Institute. The five year revolving fund provides production and development funding for 12-16 feature films, with Participant and DFI working in collaboration to develop the films as well as oversee production and arrange worldwide distribution.
In addition to the Film Fund, Participant and DFI are exploring a joint venture to create content for Participant’s new television channel, launching in August; establishment of a distribution outlet for DFI’s film production through Participant’s media interests in the US and other territories; creation of an Arabic version of TakePart.com, Participant’s on-line division and Social Action Network to jointly create Middle-Eastern based content in Arabic and English for distribution around the world; and establishment of a Middle East branch of Participant to be based at DFI’s Qatar headquarters. Participant and DFI are currently co-financing, along with other parties, an animated feature film adaptation of Khalil Gibran’s ‘The Prophet’, which is in production for release next year.
Berk said, “We are excited about working with DFI to create a transformational partnership for both parties. This new relationship provides us with a partner whose goals of international expansion and desire to co-finance a diverse slate of films that entertain, enlighten and engage with global audiences are in total alignment with our own long-term business strategies. It also gives us the ability to extend the audience for our socially-relevant storytelling to the Middle East, and to mine new sources of compelling content for our digital and TV platforms.”
Al-Khater said, “We are delighted to partner with Participant Media, a company that aims to finance and produce films that are both commercially successful and socially relevant – a vision that is very much shared at DFI. We are confident that this collaboration will be a catalyst for greater cross-cultural appreciation as we embark on a diverse and exciting set of projects. The partnership gives us the opportunity to reach and inspire broader audiences, and expand our platforms for the development, promotion and distribution of compelling storytelling.”
The deal was negotiated by DFI’s Head of Film Financing, Paul Miller and Hal Sadoff DFI’s advisor/consultant on behalf of DFI and Jeff Ivers, Chief Operating Officer, Participant Media.