The cover of Gibran’s 'The Prophet.'
Gibran's 'The Prophet' to come alive on screen
Doha, February 23, 2012
Globally-acclaimed Khalil Gibran’s best known fictional work 'The Prophet' is being adapted for the big screen in a new production that will involve collaborations across many borders.
'The Prophet' is one of the best-selling books of all time, having sold over 100 million copies since its original publication in 1923.
The Lebanese-born Gibran is the third most-read poet in history, after Shakespeare and Lao-Tzu, and has been translated in to more than 40 languages.
To bring this 89-year old classic to the screen, actress and co-producer of this venture, Salma Hayek has joined hands with Doha Film Institute (DFI) and Participant Media along with Academy Award nominated director Roger Allers (The Lion King) and ten other celebrated directors.
Pre-production is scheduled to begin this month, with Salma producing the film along with Clark Peterson and Ron Senkowski. DFI is co-financing along with Participant Media, MyGroup Lebanon, FFA Private Bank, JRW Entertainment and Code Red Productions.
In this exciting adaptation, each of the classic’s chapters will be directed by a different award-winning filmmaker, with Allers responsible for the connective through-line narrative.
'The Prophet has been an incredible source of wisdom and inspiration for millions of people all over the world. Being of Lebanese descent, I’m particularly proud to be part of a project that will present this masterpiece to new generations, in a way never seen before,' said Hayek.
Among the distinguished directors committed to the project are MarjaneSatrapi (Oscar nominated for Persepolis), Chris Landreth (Oscar-winner for short Ryan), Tomm Moore (Oscar nominated for The Secret of Kells), Nina Paley (Berlin Film Festival winner for Sita Sings the Blues), Mohammed SaeedHarib (creator of hit series Freej), Michal Socha, Francesco Testa, Joan Gratz (Oscar winner for Mona Lisa Descending a Staircase) and Bill Plympton (Oscar-nominated for Guard Dog and Your Face).
'I am very excited to be bringing to the screen this inspirational book and eager to begin working with this incredible group of international artists,' Allers said.
Harib said, “It's an immense honor to be able to translate the works of one of the Arab world’s most cherished writers into the visual realm. I am thrilled to be amongst such esteemed animation directors assigned to bring The Prophet to the big screen and to the 21st century.”
DFI executive director Amanda Palmer said, 'Through cinema, we have a unique opportunity to also introduce a new generation to the profound works of Gibran in a way never experienced before.'
'It’s a passion project for everyone involved, led by Salma’s determination to create a truly collaborative artistic approach to this universally loved novel,' she noted.
Moore said,'This is the sort of very special and important project that comes along rarely but which has the potential to make a big impact on the cultural consciousness of very many people.'
Jonathan King, executive VP of Production for Participant Media said, “The filmmaking team represents such an impressive line-up of international talent. We're thrilled to be working with them to bridge cultures through entertainment and bring Gibran's classic with its inspirational themes to a new medium for audiences worldwide.”
'The Prophet delivers a message of faith in life itself transcending all cultures and all religions. In addition to supporting Gibran’s heritage and legacy, we are very proud to contribute to what might well become the most inspiring animated picture of all times,' said Jean Riachi, CEO of FFA Private Bank in Beirut.
Nael and Haytham Nasr, managing partners of MyGroup, said, 'The Prophet’s enduring wisdom and enlightenment have comforted and inspired for nearly one hundred years. Now the movie of Gibran’s most celebrated work will enrich his timeless words and uplift our hearts and minds, today and forever.”
The film rights have been obtained by a group led by Steve Hanson of digital agency Hanson, in an agreement with the Gibran National Committee in B’Sharre, Lebanon, the representative of Gibran’s estate.
Executive Producing along with Steve Hanson are William Nix, Jose Tamez, Jeff Skoll and Jonathan King.
The financing deal was handled by Jeff Ivers and Bonnie Stylides for Participant; Joshua Grode of Liner for DFI; Lisa Nitti of Greenberg Traurig for Julie Lebedev and Code Red Productions; Nael Nasr and Haytham Nasr for Mygroup: JulienKhabbaz for FFA Private Bank and RiadBahsoun and WalidMoneimne for JRW.-TradeArabia News Service