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French Version

Jordan signs deal to open film school with American university

Jordan has signed an agreement with the University of Southern California to set up a Middle East film school where students from around the region - Arab and Israelis alike - will be able to attend, said a statement from the US school.

The agreement to launch the Red Sea Institute of Cinematic Arts in the resort of Aqaba was penned in New York on Tuesday during a ceremony attended by Jordan's King Abdullah II.

US filmmaker Steven Spielberg encouraged the Jordanian monarch to sign on with the School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California (USC), of which he is a trustee, to set up the project.

"When His Majesty the King approached me on the subject of a Jordan-based, world-class film school serving every country in the Middle East, including Israel, I immediately saw the importance and significance of such a venture for the people and the future of the region," Spielberg was quoted as saying.

Jordan and Egypt are the only Arab countries to have signed peace deals with Israel.

Samer Moasher of Jordan's Royal Film Commission, which will contribute to the project, said the scheme will be a boon for the Middle East, "a melting pot of cultural richness and diversity with story-telling traditions as old as time.

"Yet contemporary cinematic stories from the region are in short supply," the statement quoted Moasher as saying. Construction of the film institute is expected to begin in early 2007. Enrollment will start in September 2008.

Amman,26September2006
Redaction
The Daily Star


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