Abu Dhabi and Israel sign film and TV deal: expect new film festival and co-productions

2020-09-21 | Since 1 Month

Dana Blankstein Cohen, executive director of Jerusalem Sam Spiegel Film &Television School and Mohammed Al Mubarak

A new agreement has been announced between the Abu Dhabi Film Commission, the Israel Film Fund and the Jerusalem Sam Spiegel Film and Television School.

The collaboration will herald Abu Dhabi-Israel film and TV co-productions and collaborations, as well as a new film festival that will rotate annually between the UAE's capital and Israel.

The signing of the deal also means Emirati students will be able to study at the Jerusalem Sam Spiegel Film and Television School for the first time, and UAE films will have representation at the school's International Film Lab.


The separate film commissions announced that they will work together to create content "with the goal of promoting tolerance and education", and to develop "a deeper cultural understanding between the Emirati and Israeli people".


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Mohammed Al Mubarak, chairman of twofour54 and Image Nation Abu Dhabi, said the new deal "supports the development of Abu Dhabi’s film and TV sector through the creation of new opportunities for collaboration that will lead to the development of more quality content underpinned by the UAE’s values of acceptance and respect”.

Abu Dhabi film commissioner, Hans Fraikin, said the partnership would allow "talented content creators to broaden their landscapes and develop skills from diverse expertise”.

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Thank you ???????? I’ll be back ☮️

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Part of the partnership will involve training programmes for filmmakers from both countries. There are intensive script co-developments planned over a period of several months with hopes to incubate UAE-Israel co-productions in film and TV which will then go into production across both countries.

One UAE director will be invited to act as a jury member for the Jerusalem Sam Spiegel Film &Television School's 2021 annual Film Lab competition. The executive director of the film school, Dana Blankstein Cohensaid that the institution "believes in the power of film and television education to promote creative exchange between our future generations of cultural innovators".

The agreement also lays out plans for the film festival that will rotate between Israel and Abu Dhabi, and will showcase Emirati and Israeli co-productions.

Israeli creatives have already started visiting the UAE. Rapper Stephane Legar released a music video all about Dubai and Fauda star and co-creator Lior Raz was spotted in the UAE last week. The showrunner of the Netflix hit posted a picture from Burj Khalifa saying "thank you" and that he would be back.


On September 15, the UAE signed the Abraham Accord with Israel at a ceremony in Washington, DC, the first such agreement between an Arab country and Israel in more than a quarter of a century.

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