Below is a selection of summaries and links to my freelance work as Mid-East industry correspondent for Variety, the Hollywood film business daily and weekly.

  • Alnoor, Calinos team up for Mehmed II project Posted: 10/29/2010   Author: Ramsay Short DOHA -- Private Qatari film fund Alnoor and Turkish media group Calinos Holdings are joining forces to produce a $50 million English-language film and a 30-part, $25 million TV series on the life of the 15th century Ottoman sultan Mehmed, it was
  • Doha Film Fest returns for second year Posted: 10/17/2010   Author: Ramsay Short Doha Tribeca will present four world premieres, 30 titles in its World Panorama section and for the first time host two competitions: the Arab Film Competition and Arab Short Film Competition. To evolve and to show that we are a festival with ambitions, we took the step of creating two new Arab film competitions for features and shorts.

  • Dubai Intl. Film Festival fetes local heroes Posted: 12/4/2010   Author: Ramsay Short Particularly of note is the fact that the new Emirati competition has 25 features, shorts and docs from local filmmakers, including "The Philosopher" from up-and-coming helmer Abdulla al-Kaabi and starring French superstar Jean Reno.

  • Abu Dhabi targets regional filmmakers Posted: 10/10/2010   Author: Ramsay Short There are six competitions -- narrative feature, documentaries, shorts, the Emirates section for local filmmakers, Showcase for recent international pics and Scarlet's new New Horizon competish for works from first- and second-time directors.

  • Nurturing talent at the ADFF Posted: 10/10/2010   Author: Ramsay ShortThen there's the ADFC's training and internship programs, the Aflam Qaseera short film fund, New Voices documentary series and the Shasha Grant for script development worth $100,000.

  • Iran sends 'Farewell Baghdad' for Oscar Posted: 9/28/2010   Author: Ramsay Short Naderi began his career working in theater in 1988 but graduated to documentary and short filmmaking.

  • 'Secretariat' in race at Abu Dhabi Posted: 9/27/2010   Author: Ramsay Short In between, 70 films (including 12 world premieres) from 28 countries will vye for the Black Pearl awards that carry a total of $1 million in prize money in six competitions -- narrative feature, documentaries, shorts, the Emirates section for local filmmakers, Showcase for recent international pics and the newly added New Horizon for works from first and second-time directors.

  • On the Doha docket Posted: 9/26/2010   Author: Ramsay Short The Doha Film Institute announced the lineups for the new Arab film competition, World Panoroma, special screenings and Arab shorts on Sunday.
  • Sahara Festival set to commence Posted: 3/17/2011   Author: Ramsay Short LONDON -- The 8th Sahara Film Festival will go ahead May 2-8 at a refugee camp deep in the Algerian desert despite the turmoil that has engulfed north African countries in recent months. The fest's U.K. coordinator, Stefan Simanowitz, told Variety,
  • Dubai Film Connection helps pics find funds Posted: 12/6/2010   Author: Ramsay Short The Dubai Film Connection has been one of the most productive industry initiatives at DIFF since it was launched in 2007, aiming to help up to 15 Arab films find coin. The Connection runs Dec. 12-17 as part of a the Dubai Film Market. Arab filmmakers

  • Dubai festival to honor Sean Penn Posted: 11/23/2010   Author: Ramsay Short Sean Penn will receive a lifetime achievement award at the gala opening ceremony of the seventh Dubai Film Festival on Dec. 12. Fest chairman Abdulhamid Juma described Penn, who is being honored for both his film and humanitarian work, as an
  • 'Tron: Legacy' to close Dubai fest Posted: 11/8/2010   Author: Ramsay Short Joseph Kosinski's "Tron: Legacy" will close the seventh Dubai Film Festival at a gala screening on Dec. 18, the organizers announced Monday. Disney's 3D follow-up to 1982's "Tron" stars original cast members Jeff Bridges and Bruce Boxleitner
  • Sony Pictures TV Arabia, Talpa form pact Posted: 11/4/2010   Author: Ramsay Short Sony Pictures TV Arabia will jointly produce Dutch group Talpa Media's international formats across all genres in the Middle East. The exclusive rights co-production deal will cover Talpa's entire catalog of reality, gameshow and scripted content,
  • Sony sets up Arabic TV company Posted: 11/2/2010   Author: Ramsay Short Sony Pictures Television has launched a Middle East production arm, SPT Arabia. The shingle, which will serve the Arabic-speaking market, will be based in Dubai, with production offices in Beirut and Cairo. Launch was announced Tuesday by Kees
  • Arab films win big at Doha festival Posted: 11/1/2010   Author: Ramsay Short The second Doha Tribeca Film Festival wrapped Saturday with three Arab films taking the big prizes and the closing night gala screening of Justin Chadwick's "The First Grader" nabbing the audience award for best narrative feature. "Hawi," Egyptian
  • Doha Film Institute boards 'Black Gold' Posted: 10/28/2010   Author: Ramsay Short The Doha Film Institute signed up Thursday to co-produce director Jean-Jacques Annaud's $55 million Arab epic "Black Gold," alongside Tarak Ben Ammar's Quinta Communications. Pic, which stars Antonio Banderas and Tahar Rahim, is based on Hans
  • Arab auds hot fest topic Posted: 10/28/2010   Author: Ramsay Short Tribeca creative topper Geoff Gilmore talked up the future of Arab film at a distributors' lunch at the second Doha Tribeca Film Festival on Wednesday. "Look at this, an international film festival opening with a brilliant film that is an Arab film
  • 'Law' breaks in Doha festival Posted: 10/27/2010   Author: Ramsay Short DOHA -- The second Doha Tribeca Film Festival opened Tuesday with the Middle Eastern premiere of French-Algerian director Rachid Bouchareb's Algerian independence epic "Outside the Law." An excited crowd of thousands watched the director walk the red

  • Doha adds juror, screenings Posted: 10/19/2010   Author: Ramsay Short Egyptian actor Yosra will head the jury at the second Doha Tribeca Film Festival, running Oct. 26-30 in Qatar. She replaces Hany Abu-Assad, who had to cancel due to delays on his pic, "The Courier," currently shooting in Louisiana. Joining her will

  • Circle Conference lures gloabl players Posted: 10/10/2010   Author: Ramsay Short Fest sets changes | Nurturing talent at the ADFF | Q&A: Mohamed Al Daradji | Circle Conference looks to future Ask anyone at the Abu Dhabi Film Commission, and they'll tell you its most important goal is to make Abu Dhabi a serious filmmaking hub not

  • Q&A: Mohamed Al Daradji Posted: 10/10/2010   Author: Ramsay Short Fest sets changes | Nurturing talent at the ADFF | Q&A: Mohamed Al Daradji | Circle Conference looks to future Iraqi director Mohamed Al Daradji, Variety's Middle East Filmmaker of the Year honoree, is arguably the hardest-working filmmaker in the