Posted: Wed., Oct. 8, 2008, 9:00pm PT

Disney expands into Middle East

Studio in talks to fund, produce 'Storytellers'


By Ali Jaafar

The Mouse has landed in the Middle East.

Disney is in advanced negotiations with Lebanese helmer Chadi Zeineddine to finance and produce "The Last of the Storytellers."

The Mouse House’s first feature in Arabic will mark the start of an expansion drive by Disney execs into the region.

Pic, which will also be produced by Rachel Gannon, will draw on the Arab world’s rich folkloric traditions. "The Last of the Storytellers" should go into production by the end of 2009.

Disney has big plans for the Middle East. The Arab world has a population of some 300 million people, and with two-thirds under age 30, the market is a natural for family-friendly Disney fare. Disney expects to announce two more Arabic-language features in time for the fifth edition of the Dubai Film Festival, which unspools in December.
Disney expands into Middle East - Entertainment News, Film News, Media - Variety