Berlin 2013: Participant, Doha Film Institute Launch $100 Million Film Fund

1:38 AM PST 02/13/2013 by Pamela McClintock

The five-year fund was announced at the Berlin International Film Festival.

BERLIN -- Participant Media and the Doha Film Institute are teaming on a $100 million film fund that will turn out 12 to 16 features.

As part of the deal, the Los Angeles-based Participant will open a Middle Eastern office to be based out of DFI's Qatar headquarters. DFI and Participant also will create of an Arabic version of TakePart.com, Participant’s online division and social action network. And they're exploring a joint venture to create content for Participant’s new television channel, launching in August.

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The film fund was announced at the Berlin International Film Festival by Jim Berk and DFI CEO Abdulaziz Al-Khater. Participant has had a high profile at the festival, where Promised Land, which it co-financed, made its international premiere. Participant also used the festival to announce a New Latin American film initiative.

“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," Berk said.

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Added Al-Khater, "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.”

Participant and DFI were already partners on an animated feature film adaptation of Khalil Gibran’s The Prophet, which is in production and slated for release next year.

The deal was negotiated by DFI’s head of film financing Paul Miller and Hal Sadoff, DFI’s advisor and consultant, on behalf of DFI and and Participant CEO Jeff Ivers.

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