6.22 AM Monday, 15 April 2024
  • City Fajr Shuruq Duhr Asr Magrib Isha
  • Dubai 04:37 05:53 12:22 15:49 18:45 20:01
15 April 2024

Imagenation Abu Dhabi's investment plans on track

Edward Borgerding, CEO of Abu Dhabi Media Company, left, shakes hands with Tim Kelly, President and CEO of National Geographic Ventures, after signing a $100m contract in Abu Dhabi last year. Also present are Mohammed Khalaf Al Mazrouei, Chairman of Imagenation and Jake Eberts, Chairman of National Geographic Films. (JOSEPH J CAPELLAN)

By Nissar Hoath

Imagenation Abu Dhabi, an entertainment and filmmaking subsidiary of Abu Dhabi Media Company (ADMC), will continue with its investment plans without any change despite the global financial crisis.

Edward Borgerding, CEO of ADMC and Imagenation, told Emirates Business there is no change in its investment plans through acquisitions and joint ventures with three of its major deals (with National Geographic Entertainment, Participants Media of Los Angeles and the Hollywood-based Hyde Park Entertainment) already on-stage. "Nothing has changed. Our planned investments will not be curbed. We will continue with our investment plans. We are still seeking investment opportunities. We are not in a rush, but when opportunities come and the environment is right we will take them," Borgerding said after announcing Imagenation's world premiere of Journey to Mecca – In the footsteps of Ibn Battuta, a Cosmic Picture and SK Films Imax production produced in association with National Geographic, in Abu Dhabi.

The movie, made with a budget of $13 million (Dh48m), was screened on the world's largest Imax open screen at Emirates Palace last week, with a red-carpet reception for the film's team leaders and other VIPs.

"Also, in an operational sense, we have three significant deals that are on-stage and we have to start making movies. We need to implement those and get the deals going as well. In terms of our main focus, we want these three deals moving forward, but at the same time we are looking for opportunities that make sense," he said.

Imagenation was established last year at the Toronto Film Festival with a commitment of more than $1bn to invest in filmmaking and digital content over five years in partnership with global production houses.

Immediately after the establishment, the new company last month signed an agreement with the Participants Media of Los Angeles to form a $250-million partnership for financing a slate of feature films.

Also last year, the company tied up with National Geographic for filmmaking in the UAE. The two parties signed a joint venture on equal partnership basis with an initial commitment of $100m for the production of 10 to 15 films, each having a budget ranging from $5m to $60m.

Imagenation also signed a $250-million financing deal with the Hollywood-based Hyde Park Entertainment to develop, produce and distribute feature films.

The agreement aims to create up to 20 films over seven years and will include additional financing for the production of local language and cross-cultural films.

"We will soon be working with Arab filmmakers, and we are going to make a major announcement on this soon. This is an exciting and important project, which will focus on making movies with Arab filmmakers. We are very keen on producing Arabic movies for the regional market to help promote Arab film industry as part of the Imagenation initiative," said Borgerding.

He also said the majority of films Imagenation has planned will be commercial and announced in the next couple of months. "And these will be projects that will be produced for the American market."