Ben Kingsley presented with Black Pearl

Award honors his cross-cultural film work

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates -- Ben Kingsley was presented with an honorary Black Pearl Award for his cross-cultural contribution to cinema Friday night at an awards ceremony honoring leaders in industry.

Also awarded for his ethical contributions to cinema was Jeff Skoll. The founder of eBay funded "The Gandhi Project," an initiative to dub Kingsley's Academy Award-winning film of nonviolence into Arabic.

Jake Ebert was recognized for his risk-taking in cinema. The chairman of National Geo Films on Friday announced a five-year partnership with Abu Dhabi’s film financing company.

Kamran Elahian, Chairman and co-founder of Global Catalyst Partners, actively seeks out visionary entrepreneurial leaders with innovative, competitive ideas -- an ideal partner for Abu Dhabi and its vision for the bright global and regional film industry future.

Also awarded were Kamran Elaihain, co-founder of Global Catalyst Partners, and Tunisian director Nacer Khemir, awarded a MEIFF tribute award in recognition of his contribution to the development of Arab cinema. Khemir's film Tawq Al-Hamama Al-Mafqoud (The Dove’s Lost Necklace) is being screened at the festival.

"With the Arabic dub of Gandhi now on screens, it is hoped that Sir Ben's intimate portrayal of one of the world’s truly charismatic leaders will inspire an entirely new generation of regional cinema audiences," said MEIFF’s Vice Chairman Mohamed Khalaf Al Mazrouei.
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