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Jordanian-American Co-Production Tackles Arab/American Tension

Amman, Jordan-based Rubicon, Washington, DC-based Layalina Prods. and Los Angeles-based Fat Rock Ent. have teamed up to create a 13-episode series addressing the cultural gap that exists between the United States and the Arab world. Heading the project will be Rubicon ceo Randa Ayoubi, Layalinas chairman Richard Fairbanks and Fat Rock ceo David Pritchard, who created the series. The project is intended to be a direct-to-DVD production, but will also air on satellite and television broadcast networks both in the Middle East and the U.S. The budget for the project is set at $5 million.

Rubicon will be the principle production firm on the show with Fat Rock supervising through their U.S. production partner, Sabella Dern Entertainment. Layalina will assist in the financing and distribution of the project. The three party agreement and the financing strategy for the project was put together by Baman Rusby of Atoka International in Washington, DC. Pritchard will exec produce the series with SD Ent.s Paul Sabella as director and Jonathan Dern as producer.

The English and Arabic series, titled BEN & IZZY, will follow two pre-teen boys, one Arab and one American, as they uncover a time travel mechanism that takes the boys back to historical moments in the Middle East and the United States that illustrate to the boys the similar values and cultural developments shared by both cultures.

Former special Middle East peace negotiator Fairbanks said, What attracted us to the project in the beginning was the unique format of using a childrens adventure story to explore the cultural differences and similarities in the two boys upbringing. We are delighted to have Layalina involved with this exciting project.

Ayoubi added, This project is the culmination of a lot of creative cooperation and hard work by the staff at Rubicon and our partners in the U.S., Fat Rock Ent. Rubicon, as a shareholder in Fat Rock, has been working to create a project that we could co-produce and that would both educate and entertain a worldwide childrens audience. Rubicons state-of-the-art production facility in Amman was built for just this kind of production.

Pritchard stated, As a distribution company, Fat Rock is always looking at creative ways to bring new content to targeted audiences and to have relationships with content creation companies that feed our pipeline. The parties that have joined together to make this happen are a compelling and credible combination. Laylina is a group of caring world leaders who share Richard Fairbanks vision to use media and especially edutainment to bridge the cultural and social rift that has formed between the Arab world and the West. Rubicon is a talented group of animators, artists and software techies in Amman who set out three years ago to build a high quality 3D animation and computer graphics hub, which takes advantage of the Middle Easts highly educated and technically skilled labor force.

Established in 1994 by Ayoubi, Rubicon is a private shareholding company, specialized in delivering complex information and ideas through the use of multi-media technologies. The company's major lines of business include e-education; e-training; multi-media profiling; 2D and 3D animation and; enterprise solutions. For more information, visit www.rubicon.com.jo.

Fat Rock Entertainment is a producer and distributor of branded family film entertainment. Fat Rock develops and produces G-rated feature films. For more information, visit www.fatrock.net.

Layalina Productions was created by Richard Fairbanks in 2002 as a non-profit TV production corporation to produce and license thoughtful Arabic-language programming for the Middle East. Layalinas educational, entertainment and childrens shows aim to strengthen the existing bridges of mutual understanding between the U.S. and the Arab world.

Sabella Dern Entertainment is an independent animation production company that creates TV, direct-to-video, feature film, commercials and interactive game projects. For more information, visit www.sdentertainment.net.

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