Image Nation Abu Dhabi, Majid Al Futtaim and MBC Studios have entered into an alliance to launch a major production partnership for film and TV projects across the Middle East.
The partnership will green-light several projects annually, supporting them from inception to distribution, a statement said.
It will actively seek projects from across the Middle East, with a focus on Saudi Arabia, UAE and Egypt, and has already begun producing its first project.
The first film supported by the partnership is Three Four Eternity, a vampire family drama produced by Mohamed Hefzy under his company Film Clinic, which will be the directorial debut for the film’s writer, Rami Yasin.
“This region has infinitely talented writers and filmmakers wanting to tell their stories, as well as a sophisticated consumer audience that craves locally made content that resonates with them,” said Ben Ross, chief content officer at Image Nation.
“This partnership will have a significant impact on the scale and ambition of the region’s industries, enabling more creatives to bring their ideas to life and deliver the content that audiences want to see.
“The trio of companies will facilitate the creative process at every step of a project’s development.”
Majid Al Futtaim will contribute to the partnership through its cinemas arm as both an exhibitor and distributor of films.
The company’s Vox Cinemas has over 400 screens in eight countries including Saudi Arabia where the exhibitor opened the kingdom’s first multiplex in April 2018.
Vox has opened a further four multiplexes in Riyadh and Jeddah, totalling 47 screens, and plans to open 110 by the end of 2019. It will operate over 1,000 screens across the GCC by 2023, including 600 screens in Saudi.
Khaled El Chidiac, acting CEO, Majid Al Futtaim – Ventures said: “Entertainment and creative industries are vital to a thriving and diversified economy and there has never been a more exciting time to be part of this field in the MENA region, and particularly, Saudi Arabia, in light of Vision 2030.”
Image Nation and MBC Studios announced earlier this year a slate of Saudi films for local, regional and international audiences, which aim to film in Saudi and utilise local talent in front of and behind the camera.
Peter Smith, managing director of MBC Studios said: “We’re bringing together, for the very first time, a 360-degree Arab film entity that covers all aspects of content creation, including development, production, theatrical exhibition, televising on the Middle East’s leading broadcaster and SVOD platforms, as well as international sales.
“We want to create premium Arabic language feature film content from across the Middle East to connect with audiences in the region and internationally. This partnership, in essence, creates a fully integrated studio.”