Funds News

UPDATE 1-Qatari firm in talks to make Prophet Mohammad film

* Aims to help “bridge cultures”

* Educate about the “true meaning of Islam”

(Adds details on film, company’s financial plans)

DOHA, Nov 1 (Reuters) - An epic film about Islam’s Prophet Mohammad backed by the producer of “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Matrix” is being planned with the aim of “bridging cultures”.

Filming of the $150-million English-language movie is set to start in 2011 with American Barrie Osborne as its producer, Qatari media company Alnoor Holdings said on Sunday.

The film - in which the Prophet would not be depicted, in accordance with Islamic rules - is in development and talks are being held with studios, talent agencies and distributors in the United States and Britain, Alnoor said.

Osborne told Reuters the film would be an “international epic production aimed at bridging cultures.”

“The film will educate people about the true meaning of Islam,” he said.

Alnoor said it wanted to attract the “best international talent” to star in the movie.

Alnoor, which was set up this year to take advantage of opportunities in the entertainment sector, focuses on international film production, Arabic production and animation and wants to acquire distressed assets in the U.S. and British film industries.

Raja Sharif, vice president of international projects at Alnoor, told Reuters in a telephone interview he expected to conclude deals next year.

He said the company was not interested in large studios but was targeting distributors, sales agents and possibly post-production and production facilities.

Qatar, the world’s largest exporter of liquefied natural gas, aims to become a cultural hub in the region. Earlier this week, it held the first Tribeca Doha Film Festival attended by regional and international filmmakers, stars, agents and distributors.

Editing by Firouz Sedarat and David Cowell