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Abu Dhabi’s 6 key players

Leaders strive to build global media powerhouse

Mohammed Khalaf al-Mazrouei
Simultaneously holds the posts of director general of the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage, chairman of the Abu Dhabi Media Co. and vice chairman of the emirate’s Middle East Intl. Film Festival. Snappy dresser. Attends fests in Cannes and Berlin. Has a funny bone that covers a steely determination.

Khaldoon Mubarak
Powerful, youthful CEO of Abu Dhabi investment org Mubadala. Tasked with completing $8 billion joint venture with NBC Universal parent GE to target high-return commercial finance opportunities. Strategically responsible for how the emirate’s oil wealth will be spent on media projects.

Peter Scarlet
Exec director of Middle East Intl. Film Festival. Formerly at Tribeca, where he championed Arab and Iranian cinema. Determined not to let fest’s commercial aspects overpower its cultural mission.

Tony Orsten
Chief executive of Abu Dhabi’s multibillion-dollar media zone Twofour54. Avuncular ex-Joost exec tasked with making emirate into center of Arab content creation. Has signed CNN, BBC, HarperCollins, Random House and Thomson Reuters Foundation to participate. Inked deals with Arab shingles Rotana Studios and C-Sky Pictures.

Ed Borgerding
CEO of Abu Dhabi Media Co.’s production arm Imagenation. Has $1 billion to play with, which makes him popular in Hollywood. Former senior veep for Walt Disney Intl. TV. Has inked $250 million pacts with Participant Media and others, including a $100 million deal with National Geographic Films. Wading through Abu Dhabi’s 2007 multimedia pact with Warner Bros., which may have stalled, say some, despite deals to finance Robert Rodriguez’s “Shorts” and two vidgames.

David Shepheard
Head of Abu Dhabi’s film commission. Runs confab The Circle and oversees development of film industry infrastructure in the region. This year’s Circle Shasha grant winner will be offered a first-look deal with Imagenation.

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