Sure to roil conservatives who shudder at the thought of more Paradise Nows in the marketplace, Arabic broadcaster Al-Jazeera is sponsoring a $1.4 million initiative to fund independent film and TV production, reports Variety today. "The Al-Jazeera Sponsorship Fund, dubbed Riaya, will offer grants to support and develop indie productions, and young directors and producers. Application process is set to launch within the year."
"This fund is not only intended to finance productions but also to create a culture of support for independent producers and to offer training, marketing and guidance for emerging talent," Al-Jazeera managing director Wadah Khanfar told Daily Variety. "This institution is just the beginning of what we intend as a first step in fostering the development of arts and culture in the region and beyond."