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With an assist from IAC chairman Barry Diller, former Universal vice chairman Ron Meyer has reached an agreement to serve as a consultant representing Qatar in the film business.
Meyer will serve as an adviser to the Doha Film Institute. The precise scope of his mission is not clear but sources say he will offer counsel on investment in content as well as potentially building stages to attract production.
Qatar’s aim to become a bigger investment player in Hollywood is said to be a major foray spearheaded by Hassan Al-Thawadi, the architect behind the country’s 2022 FIFA World Cup event.
Industry sources have pegged Meyer’s fee at $6 million a year. A representative for Meyer declined to comment.
Diller and his wife, Diane von Furstenberg, are close with Sheikha Al Mayassa Bint Hamad Al Thani, sister of the ruling emir and founder and chairperson of the Doha Film Institute. Meyer has made several visits to Qatar in recent months.
Meyer resigned from NBCUniversal in August 2020 amid revelations of an entanglement with aspiring actress Charlotte Kirk.
Qatari interests already hold a sizable stake in Miramax, a relationship dating to 2010, when Tom Barrack’s Colony Capital bought the company from Disney and the Qatar Investment Authority took a stake. In 2016, Miramax was sold to the Qatari beIN Media Group for a reported $1 billion. That company in turn sold a 49 percent stake to ViacomCBS in 2020 for $375 million — significantly less than the $650 million that it initially sought.
The Doha Film Institute has backed a number of independent films in recent years, including Nadine Labaki’s Capernaum and Asghar Farhadi’s Oscar-winner The Salesman. It had several titles at the Cannes Film Festival, including Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s Memoria.
The institute has made forays into Hollywood in the past. It launched the Doha Tribeca Film Festival, which lasted from 2009 to 2012, to develop the film industry in Qatar. In 2013, it made a $100 million deal with Participant Media in 2013 with the aim of producing 12 or more films a year. That venture did not produce any films and eventually was canceled.
Alex Ritman contributed reporting.
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