Hollywood chairman to give UAE film-makers directions

A handful of students on year-long movie mentorship program to visit film sets and talk to directors in LA.

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ABU DHABI // Aspiring Emirati film-makers are to be given advice from a Hollywood high-flyer. Students on the Adasa programme, a year-round mentorship for up to 10 local screenwriters, are to attend a lecture in Abu Dhabi given by Jim Gianopoulos, the chairman of 20th Century Fox. The lecture, on Oct 6, will form part of The Circle Conference 2008, an annual event which highlights and encourages film-making talent in the UAE.

The two-day conference at the Shangri La Hotel, Abu Dhabi, will focus on the state of the Arab film-making and its financing and global distribution. The Circle is part of the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage (Adach). Adrienne Briggs, director of The Circle, said: "[Mr] Gianopoulos will be looking at the global film industry and its relevance to Middle Eastern film-makers and financiers. I am sure that his participation will add great value to the overall goals of the event, not least because he has an encouraging history of supporting emerging film-makers."

There will also be evening events including a charity dinner attended by VIPs, added Ms Briggs. Adasa, meaning lens, is among a number of initiatives by The Circle. The Adasa students travel to Los Angeles to see the process of film production and to visit film sets and talk to directors and producers. Its other programmes include the Cloewin Connection, which brings prominent directors from the Middle East together on projects and the Sasha grant, a screenwriting competition with a prize of US$100,000 (Dh367,000) which will be awarded at The Circle conference.

Following the conference, The Circle will host an Interactive Media Exhibition that will feature games and technical demonstrations of new media. The exhibition will take place in the capital's Marina Mall from Oct 9-11, and will be open to the public who will be able to participate in the interactive demonstrations. More information on the subject can be found at The Circle's website, www.thecircle.ae.