Imagenation, Hyde Park in $250 mil deal

Initiative to see 20 feature films over seven years

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates -- Abu Dhabi's answer to Dubai Media City has another confirmed media partner.

Hollywood-based Hyde Park Entertainment will open a regional headquarters at twofour54, the recently unveiled content and production zone to be built in the UAE capital.

The company is the latest in a growing number of Hollywood and international companies lured to the UAE capital by generous funding deals, part of Abu Dhabi's determination to become a leading filmmaking hub in the region.

Imagenation, a subsidiary of the government-owned Abu Dhabi Media Co., will produce up to 20 feature films with Hyde Park Entertainment, at a total cost of $250 million.

Additional funds will be available for local-language films, reflecting a desire to grow local filmmaking in tandem with encouraging global players to put down roots.

"Abu Dhabi's investment with international media partners is putting the emirate in the global spotlight at a critical time for the movie industry," Imagenation chairman Mohamed Khalaf Al-Mazrouei said. "Through partnerships like this one with Hyde Park, we can create feature films which open a window on (the) Middle East."

Under the deal, Los Angeles-based Hyde Park will set up a local office in Abu Dhabi. Patrick Aiello, Hyde Park's executive vp, will supervise creative affairs for the partnership, while new Hyde Park International president Mimi Steinbauer will oversee foreign sales.

"We intend to produce films that stretch from Hollywood to Asia. What better way ... than through global cinema and the exchange of talent and great stories," said Hyde Park boss Ashok Amritraj.

This is the third major announcement for Imagenation. In September, Imagenation Abu Dhabi and Participant Media formed a $250 million feature film fund, and in October a $100 million joint venture with National Geographic Films was announced.
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