Ambitious Middle Eastern producer Imagenation Abu Dhabi has closed a $250m financing deal with Ashok Amritraj's Hyde Park Entertainment to develop, produce and distribute up to 20 films over seven years.

The deal will cover broad Hollywood entertainment and the parties expect to announce the first titles within the next several months. The wholly owned subsidiary of Abu Dhabi Media Company will make additional funds available for the production of local language and cross-cultural films under its Film Arabia mandate.

As a sign of its ongoing commitment to making films with cross-cultural appeal, Hyde Park will open a regional hub in Abu Dhabi's free media zone Two Four 54. Amritraj said interviews were underway to staff the office.

Hyde Park's executive vice president Patrick Aiello will supervise creative affairs for the partnership while the new head of Hyde Park International Mimi Steinbauer will handle foreign sales and Imagenation CFO Stefan Brunner will oversee the financial aspects of the joint venture.

This is the third major partnership between Hollywood and Imagenation, which launched on September 3, following previously announced deals with Participant Media and National Geographic Films. Imagenation CEO Edward Borgerding said one or two further alliances may be unveiled, but not in the short term.

'Hyde Park is a thoroughly professional partner that knows how to make films targeted at Hollywood and global audiences,' Borgerding said. 'They're a good choice for us because they bring us variety and offer a slightly different perspective and focus creatively from the kind of films Participant and National Geographic make.'

'Imagenation is a wonderful company and Ed is an old friend and I'm really excited to be in business with them to make mainstream Hollywood films and cross-cultural projects,' Amritraj said. 'In the last few years I've pioneered the whole East-West movement and it's good to see Asia, the Middle East and Hollywood coming together.

'The Middle East is growing at an extraordinary rate and I'm looking forward to being part of the growth of the entertainment and industry infrastructure in the region.'

MGM released Hyde Park's cross-cultural romance The Other End of the Line over the weekend. Its videogame adaptation Street Fighter with Capcom is set to open through Fox on February 27 2009 and the Platinum Studios co-production Dead Of Night based on the Italian comic book property Dylan Dog and starring Brandon Routh is currently in pre-production.