Emerging from nearly 20 years of international sanctions, Libya is looking to put a fresh face on its global image. And what better place to start than in Hollywood?
Saadi Gadhafi, the 31-year-old soccer-playing son of Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi, is managing a $100 million fund earmarked for pic acquisitions.
Gadhafi, a professional player for Italy’s second-tier Perugia club — in which he is also an investor — attended the recent Venice Film Festival, where he mixed it up with showbizzers, including Miramax co-chair Harvey Weinstein, at the AmFAR gala.
Gadhafi’s nascent World Navigator Entertainment will be represented at the upcoming American Film Market in Santa Monica by German agent Thomas Zeumer and Italo producer Silvio Sardi, who are prexy and managing director, respectively, of the Gadhafi venture. They’ll be looking to acquire foreign rights to English-lingo projects in the $40 million-$60 million range.
“Libya has paid its dues,” Zeumer told Variety at Milan’s Mifed film mart. “Now, one of its first steps is to get involved in the entertainment business.
“The first thing I can say is that (Gadhafi) doesn’t like violent movies. Saadi loves romantic comedies, and that is one of the types of films that we will be looking for.”
World Navigator Entertainment, which is financed by the National Oil Co. of Libya, will have offices in Munich and London and is seeking a Los Angeles entertainment lawyer and financial adviser to represent the shingle.
“The message we want to convey is that the money is real, and the people are serious, conservative and prudent,” Sardi says.
As for what Gadhafi talked to Weinstein about in Venice, the Libyan scion reportedly asked the Miramax topper to make a movie about his father. Weinstein is said to have told him he would consider the project — if Libya recognizes the state of Israel.