Doha Film Institute and production company Participant Media have teamed up to launch a $100-million revolving fund to finance a number of feature films.
The five-year revolving fund, which was announced at the Berlin International Film Festival, will provide production and development funding for 12-16 feature films, with Participant and DFI working together 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, which launches in August. The two parties are also looking into the establishment of a distribution outlet for DFI’s film production through Participant’s media interests in the U.S. and other territories.
An Arabic version of TakePart.com, Participant’s online division and social action network, has also been suggested in order to jointly create Middle Eastern-based content in Arabic and English for distribution around the world. Besides, they explored the possibility of opening a branch of Participant at DFI’s headquarters in Qatar.
DFI CEO Abdulaziz Al-Khater and Participant Media CEO Jim Berk expressed their excitement at the new project, which they said will extend their audience and give them wider access.
“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,” Al-Khater said.
Berk hailed the partnership as “transformational” for both parties, noting that DFI shares several long-term visions with the Los Angeles-based firm. “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.”
Participant Media is known for critically acclaimed and commercially successful films such as An Inconvenient Truth, Food, Inc., The Help, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln.
DFI and Participant 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.