Film and TV agreement between UAE, Israel

“Partnership” focuses on four key initiatives centred on bilateral workshops, training, education, the International Film Lab and a regional film festival.
Monday 21/09/2020
Israeli model May Tager, left, holds Israel’s flag while next to her Anastasia Bandarenka, a Dubai-based model, waves the Emirati flag, during a photo shoot modelling pajamas by an Israeli fashion brand , in Dubai, Sept. 8. (AFP)

ABU DHABI – The Abu Dhabi Film Commission (ADFC), the Israel Film Fund (IFF) and the Jerusalem Sam Spiegel Film & Television School (JSFS) announced Monday a cooperation agreement in the fields of film and television.

Under the new agreement, the film commissions will create an intercultural cooperation, creating content with the goal of “promoting tolerance, education and developing a deeper cultural understanding between the Emirati and Israeli people,” a press release by Abu Dhabi Film Commission said.

News of the agreement came days after the official signing ceremony at the White House for a US-brokered deal, in which Israel established formal ties with two Arab states, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.

The new film and television agreement “strengthens cultural ties between our creative industries as well as 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,” said Chairman of twofour54 and Image Nation Abu Dhabi Mohamed Al Mubarak.

The ADFC, IFF and JSFS have agreed on an agenda consisting of four key initiatives, centred on bilateral workshops, training, education, the International Film Lab and a regional film festival.

The “new partnership between the UAE and Israel will be extremely beneficial for our burgeoning Emirati film and television community by allowing our talented content creators to broaden their landscapes and develop skills from diverse expertise,” said Hans Fraikin, the Abu Dhabi film commissioner.

According to the Abu Dhabi Film Commission, training programmes will be developed for filmmakers from both countries to participate in intensive script co-development workshops over a period of several months, with the aim of developing and producing Abu Dhabi-Israel film and television co-productions.

HE Mohamed Al Mubarak, Chairman of twofour54 and Image Nation Abu Dhabi. (CREDIT)
HE Mohamed Al Mubarak, Chairman of twofour54 and Image Nation Abu Dhabi. (CREDIT)

In partnership with the globally recognised Jerusalem Sam Spiegel Film & Television School, Emirati students will be selected to study in one of three educational tracks in its acclaimed Jerusalem campus.

“The art of film is a universal language which can serve as a bridge between cultures and people. I believe this is a wonderful opportunity for collaboration through which we can learn, create and become closer to our neighbours in the Middle East,” Executive Director of IFF Lisa Shiloach-Uzrad said.

In addition to training and development programmes, Emirati filmmakers will have representation at the International Film Lab for the first time ever, with one UAE director invited to participate as a jury at the upcoming 2021 edition of the high-profile annual Film Lab competition.

The agreement also specified plans for a regional film festival, which will rotate annually between Abu Dhabi and Israel and will showcase Emirati and Israeli productions and co-productions.

Dana Blankstein Cohen, Executive Director of JSFS. (CREDIT)
Dana Blankstein Cohen, Executive Director of JSFS. (CREDIT)

“We believe in the power of film and television education to promote creative exchange between our future generations of cultural innovators,” said executive director of JSFS Dana Blankstein Cohen.

The Abu Dhabi Film Commission indicated that future objectives of the partnership will be announced soon and will include a bilateral film co-production agreement to facilitate and encourage co-productions between the film industries of Abu Dhabi and Israel.