x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 16 January 2018

Imagenation Abu Dhabi frames Singapore link

Imagenation Abu Dhabi and Hyde Park Entertainment have created a strategic alliance with Singapore's Media Development Authority.

Imagenation Abu Dhabi and Hyde Park Entertainment have created a strategic alliance with Singapore's Media Development Authority (MDA) to invest an estimated US$75 million (Dh275.4m) to make three to four films over the next five years. The new venture, which will soon have an office in Singapore, will open Imagenation to eastern markets and strengthen the capital's bonds with its fellow city state, Singapore, said Edward Borgerding, the chief executive of both Imagenation Abu Dhabi and its parent company, Abu Dhabi Media Company, the owner and publisher of The National. "This deal serves several strategic objectives for Imagenation," he said. "One is that it increases our ability to finance movies. "It give us a focus east - Singapore, China, India - which is something that we want to do. "And as Abu Dhabi and Singapore have a very close relationship, as city states, this strengthens our bonds with Singapore." The film deal comes a month after Abu Dhabi's Advanced Technology Investment Company agreed to buy Singapore's Chartered Semiconductor Manufacturing for $1.8 billion. Hyde Park Entertainment, a Hollywood studio led by Ashok Amritraj, announced plans to set up a multimillion-dollar fund based in Singapore in May last year. "My continued vision is to bridge Asia with Hollywood," Mr Amritraj told Singapore Media Fusion. "And with the capabilities of the West and the personality, character and integrity of the East, Singapore is the perfect gateway." Mr Borgerding said Imagenation became part of Hyde Park's plans to open its Asian headquarters in Singapore because "it made a lot of sense to do it that way". The two companies formed a $250m film-fund partnership last year. This project will be financed through that fund, in partnership with Singapore's MDA. "Connecting partners from three different continents to produce international films through an Asian headquarters in Singapore, the Hyde Park-Imagenation-MDA alliance is the latest transnational industry collaboration that fulfils Singapore's promise as a trusted global capital for media business," said Dr Christopher Chia, the chief executive of MDA. "Through this new venture, we hope to see stronger ties between media companies and professionals from the Middle East, United States and Singapore, as they collaborate to create compelling content for audiences worldwide." MDA was formed in 2003 from the merger of the Singapore Broadcasting Authority, the Films and Publications Department and the Singapore Film Commission. Singapore has since evolved into a broadcast hub with the establishment of 15 out of 17 major international cable and satellite broadcast networks in Asia. It is also home to international electronic games and animation companies such as LucasFilm Animation, Electronic Arts and Ubisoft. "It could be fun to make a Korean movie, or Hong Kong, Cantonese kind of movie, but the big game that we are playing for would mostly be China and India," said Mr Borgerding. Imagenation was launched in September last year to develop, finance and produce full-length feature films and digital content for Arabic and global markets. The company has established partnerships with global producers such as Hyde Park Entertainment, National Geographic and Participant Media to develop and create content for distribution internationally, in addition to supporting Middle East filmmakers and Arabian film production. The company's feature films include Robert Rodriguez's Shorts, Peter Weir's The Way Back, Doug Liman's Fair Game as well as Furry Vengeance and The Crazies. khagey@thenational.ae