Summit Entertainment, Participant Media and Imagenation Abu Dhabi optioned Deepwater Horizon’s Final Hour, a New York Times article from last Dec. 25 that will inform a film they’ll develop about the oil-rig disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. Matthew Sand will write the script. The Times’ article was written by David Barstow, David Rohde and Stephanie Saul. Lorenzo di Bonaventura will produce. ICM repped deal.
EXCLUSIVE: Imagenation has experienced quite an executive shake-up in recent weeks. CEO Ed Borgerding left the Abu Dhabi-based film fund last week while COO Stefan Brunner exited shortly before that. The new CEO Michael Garin has spent the last 3½ years on the Executive Committee of Imagenation’s parent company Abu Dhabi Media Company. The former CEO of TV broadcaster Central European Media Enterprises, Garin was previously head of media at Dutch investment bank ING and before that worked at Lorimar-Telepictures, which was eventually swallowed up by Warner Bros.
I’m hearing that the reason why Borgerding left was because he was appointed by former Abu Dhabi Media Company chairman Mohamed Khalaf al Mazrouei and not its current chairman, Mohamed Mubarak Al Mazrouei. “Ed never had a personal relationship or the trust of Mohamed,” one source tells me. “Mohamed was put in charge to change things. How do you change things? Start with the head.”
Imagenation Abu Dhabi is the $1 billion film fund launched in September 2008. It has announced a string of high-profile partnerships – including a $250 million joint venture with Participant Media, a $250 million deal with Hyde Park Entertainment, a $100 million deal with National Geographic, and a $10 million revolving development fund with producers Walter Parkes/Laurie Macdonald to invest in projects developed through their DreamWorks first-look deal. Imagenation began shooting its first local production, the coming-of-age story Sea Shadow, at the end of October.
I’ve learned that the Abu Dhabi-based film financier is talking to European producers in France and Germany about investing in projects. This may turn into a longer-term joint venture, like the ones Imagenation has already sealed with Hollywood producers including Parkes/Macdonald and Participant. It’s puzzled me as to why this Arab financier has not done any deals with European companies yet. It’s announced $600 million worth of joint ventures with Hollywood, yet European film companies such as Constantin of Germany or Italian producer Cattleya have their own studio links. Europe is closer to the Gulf than Los Angeles
Neal Purvis and Robert Wade (Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace) have been hired to write an original action thriller by the Imagenation Abu Dhabi and Walter Parkes and Laurie MacDonald of Parkes/MacDonald. The thriller, devised by producer Michael Lieber and Parkes, follows an American anthropologist called back to the Sahara to help clear the name of a friend accused of a terrorist attack. The story will be set among the Taureg tribes of Sahara West Africa, a nomadic people whose uranium rich land has become a flashpoint for both energy companies and terrorists. “We’re always looking for interesting character-based movies and this one has a fascinating man at the centre of it,” Purvis tells Deadline. “The fact that it takes place in a magical, forgotten part of the world and we get to work with great producers is of course a bonus.”
No word on what it’s called yet, but Purvis and Wade are no strangers to this kind of conspiracy thriller, having written both the latest Bonds and an adaptation of John Le Carré’s The Mission Song for UK producer Potboiler. The Constant Gardener, Potboiler’s previous Le Carré adaptation, was also about African corruption. They are repped by Jenne Casarotto in London and Jeremy Barber of UTA in the States.
Parkes MacDonald/Imagenation was established in October last year with a $10 million revolving development fund. The company invests in future Parkes/Macdonald projects developed under their first-look deal with …