Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 27 May 2019

Front Row to produce new Arabic movies in new joint venture

Rocket Science is the production house behind hits like 'Destroyer' and 'Juliet, Naked'

Nicole Kidman stars as Erin Bell in Rocket Science film 'Destroyer'. Sabrina Lantos / Annapurna Pictures
Nicole Kidman stars as Erin Bell in Rocket Science film 'Destroyer'. Sabrina Lantos / Annapurna Pictures

Dubai-based distributor and producer Front Row Filmed Entertainment and UK sales and production outfit Rocket Science, the producer behind Destroyer and Juliet Naked, have announced a joint venture to develop Arabic language content.

Yalla Yalla will be a Dubai-based film and television company, targeted at Arabic language entertainment. It will develop, package, produce and finance television and feature film projects for the rapidly expanding Middle East and North Africa territory, with a view to travel beyond the region.

The team has already been active in acquiring remake rights as well as developing original content for both theatrical and TV with the aim of having four feature films and two TV series produced within the first eighteen months.

Together, Rocket Science will leverage its talent, producing and financing relationships in the US and Europe, while Front Row and its partner, Kuwait National Cinema Company, will harness their regional relationships with filmmakers, tastemakers and financiers.

The company will be spearheaded by former Wild Bunch head of acquisitions Rita Dagher as Creative Producer, her credits include A Prayer Before Dawn, Four Lions, and Fahrenheit 9/11, and she is concurrently in the process of staffing up the new Dubai operation.

Front Row chief Gianluca Chakra and Rocket Science CEO Thorsten Schumacher said in a joint statement: “Rita’s experience and knowledge in the region and internationally will not only be key in identifying projects and local talent, but will also bring a huge added value in bringing these projects to life and help nurture the talent.”

Chakra added: “One of our main goals is to create Pan-Arab content by bringing together talent from different countries.

Our intention is to encourage filmmakers to go into new directions and be part of, not just the Arab world, but also an international one.

Rita Dagher

Dagher commented on her new role: “The Middle East, including North Africa, thrives with powerful stories waiting to be told. Yalla Yalla will provide a home for a new wave of exciting and diverse filmmakers with unique voices to tell their stories and embrace all kinds of genres and formats. Our intention is to encourage filmmakers to go into new directions and be part of, not just the Arab world, but also an international one.”

After 15 years as the GCC's leading indie distributor, Front Row entered the production world last year by acquiring the Arabic language remake rights of the Italian smash hit Perfect Strangers, which they will co-produce and distribute with Empire International and Film Clinic, and the Egyptian/British co-production Luxor, also in partnership with Film Clinic.

Rocket Science and Front Row are currently collaborating on the development and production of Queen Mary and Cliffhanger, among other titles which will be announced soon.

Updated: May 15, 2019 02:42 PM

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