Wednesday, October 24, 2007
It's one of the major deals to have emerged in 'The Business Street', the space set aside for international film producers and others at this year's Rome Film Festival.
In the last few years, several proposals have been considered for a movie about the life of the much beloved Sufi poet, who is well known in Europe and the US.
More than 800 years after his death, his Persian poetry remains popular from Turkey to India. Now a new Italian company, Istar Production, has reached an agreement with Dubai's D-Seven Motion Pictures to make the film.
The choice of the Dubai company is part of a strategy which aims to make the Emirates a hot new location for movie production in the Persian Gulf, offering capital and infrastructure for international filmmakers.
D-Seven Motion Pictures is headed by Nayla al Khaja, UAE's first independent female film director and producer.
Muzaffar Ali, a famous Indian filmmaker will direct the film. Igor Uboldi from Istar said the choice of an Indian director was appropriate because it was one of the countries where the 'cult' of Rumi survived. It also coincided with the Rome Film Festival's focus on Indian movies this year.
The film project appears to be connected with UNESCO's Rumi Year, declared to commemorate the poet's 800th birthday.
The film has been presented to Turkish institutions with a view to shooting in Turkey and has received formal support from UNESCO.
"It will be an international production to tell the story of a poet that after 8 centuries still inspires us," said Uboldi.
And he adds: "At a time when Islam is at the centre of turmoil and misconceptions, Rumi opens the doors of a world where Islam always means love, never hatred".