September 21, 2006

Historic Signing

Marking The Creation Of The Red Sea Institute Of Cinematic Arts

By James Tella

A joint effort: His Majesty, King Abdullah II of Jordan and Dean Elizabeth Daley talk with Samer Mouasher, commissioner- Royal Film Commission of Jordan at the conclusion of the official ceremony marking the creation of the Red Sea Institute of Cinematic Arts.

King Abdullah II of Jordan presided over a ceremony in New York City on September 20th marking the creation of the Red Sea Institute of Cinematic Arts (RSICA) in Jordan’s Red Sea resort town of Aqaba. The institute is a joint effort of the Royal Film Commission of Jordan and the School of Cinema-Television at the University of Southern California. The institute will enroll men and women from the Middle East region in a specialized learning environment dedicated to teaching all disciplines of the cinematic arts.

Joining His Majesty at the official ceremony was Dean Elizabeth M. Daley, Frank Price, chair of the school’s Board of Councilors and USC trustee; Samer Mouasher, Commissioner- Royal Film Commission of Jordan; filmmaker Dan Katzir; and producer Malek Akkad.

The Red Sea Institute of Cinematic Arts is in line with His Majesty’s efforts to harness the skills of Jordanian youth by exposing them to the latest technologies in filmmaking and production. The institute would also contribute to His Majesty’s vision of establishing a hub for intellectual and creative capital in Jordan, where youth in the region can be equipped with the necessary tools for success.
His Majesty drew on the expertise of filmmaker Steven Spielberg, who recommended the partnership with USC, to make this project a reality.

“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, I immediately saw the importance and significance of such a venture for the people and the future of the region. I knew as a trustee of USC and a member of the school’s Board of Councilors that the university had the exact expertise he needed for this incredible initiative,” Spielberg said.

“The Middle East is a melting pot of cultural richness and diversity with story-telling traditions as old as time, yet contemporary 
Men and women from the Middle East region attended an intensive animation and digital arts workshop-the third joint effort between the school and the Royal Film Commission of Jordan.
cinematic stories from the region are in short supply,” said Mr. Mouasher. “In establishing this institute we will draw from a diverse and vast pool of cultures and experiences, to offer a more complete idea and multi-faceted perspective to the viewer, and the world audience.”
“What we seek is a true collaboration, a true exchange, and we look forward to being not only the teachers, but the recipients of the work that these young people will produce,” Daley said.
Construction of the RSICA campus is set to begin in early 2007 in Aqaba, a special economic zone in Jordan on the Red Sea, bordering Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Israel. Its facilities will include digital screening rooms, post-production, animation and interactive media laboratories; sound stages with green-screen and motion capture capacities; high-end professional video production packages and an extensive digital and print library.

Faculty will be drawn from industry, arts and academic institutions around the globe. Students will be admitted from Jordan, as well as the entire region, with first admissions in September 2008, and the first graduating class in June 2011. Admission will be based on a competitive portfolio, clear evidence of talent and outstanding personal expression, as well as strong potential for creative collaboration.