Gianopulos to give Circle keynote

Fox chairman to address film-financing confab

Abu Dhabi execs have tapped Fox chairman Jim Gianopulos to give the keynote address at their film-financing confab, the Circle.

Gianopoulos, who will give his speech Oct. 6, will discuss the global film biz and its relevance to Mideast filmmakers and financiers. Last year’s inaugural Circle keynote was given by Harvey Weinstein.

This year’s event, which unspools Oct. 5-9, has been expanded to five days compared to three days last year and features a range of initiatives designed to nurture up-and-coming Middle Eastern filmmakers.

One of the Circle’s schemes involves the Adasa screenwriting labs, which will focus solely on Emirati filmmakers and the Investors Circle, which will host workshops by international financiers.

The Claewin Connection will see 15 filmmakers from across the region mentored by industry professionals and taken on a two-week tour of Hollywood to workshop their scripts. Six of the chosen finalists were recently given a private tour of the Fox studios in Los Angeles by Gianopulos.

Filmmakers from across the region will also have the opportunity to pitch their projects as part of Abu Dhabi’s Shasha Grant screenwriting competition during the Circle to a panel of biz pros, with the winner receiving a $100,000 grant to complete the screenplay.

“We are already seeing these filmmakers grow and develop their style,” Circle topper Adrienne Briggs told Daily Variety. “And to have Jim end our two weeks by arranging their tour of Fox is a great example of the Circle’s role to bridge emerging talent with Hollywood’s expertise.”

The Circle is one of the cornerstones of Abu Dhabi’s attempts to become a player in the global film biz. The event will be followed immediately by the second edition of Abu Dhabi’s Middle East Intl. Film Fest, which unspools Oct. 10-19. Fest boasts over $1 million in prize money and will give the winning producer of intl. competish a substantial production grant towards their next project.

The Abu Dhabi Media Co. also launched production banner imagenation Abu Dhabi on Sept. 3 with a $1 billion fund to make up to eight features a year over the next five years.