Middle East film distributor Front Row Filmed Entertainment is giving Arabic and Bollywood distributors a chance to have their movies reach larger audiences thanks to a new deal making it an iTunes aggregator. The Apple service is the only platform in the Middle East that offers simultaneous releases in eight countries: UAE, Egypt, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, Lebanon, Jordan and Kuwait. Front Row has already made some of its titles available including A Long Way Down, Rush, Diana and Where Do We Go Now? The company says it will aggressively pursue the premium VOD window, making titles available in eight territories across the Middle East including day-and-date theatrical releases in Saudi Arabia, where there are no movie theaters. “With free television not acquiring independent titles, the DVD market dying and Pay TV being extremely selective, I’m sure that local film distributors will finally find common grounds and encourage the VOD medium even more,” Front Row managing partner Gianluca Chakra says. “We’re sure iTunes will become the place to turn to when looking for a movie.” Front Row’s upcoming releases include Begin Again, Maps To The Stars, A Walk Among The Tombstones, The Guest, Wish I Was Here and Northmen: A Viking Saga, all of which will be available on iTunes shortly after their Middle East theatrical release.
Norway has selected Bent Hamer’s 1001 Grams as its entry for the Foreign Language Film Oscar race. The pic will have its world premiere in the Masters sidebar in Toronto. This is Hamer’s third submission for the Oscars – after Kitchen Stories (2003) and O’Horten (2007). Ane Dahl-Torp plays a recently divorced, work-obsessed scientist in her late 30s,\ who falls for a colleague during a seminar in Paris. 1001 Grams was written and produced by Hamer for his BulBul Film. Les Films du Losange has international sales.
Fox International Channels has launched a new content sales division to bring together scripted and unscripted programming and formats. The group is led by Simon Thomas, EVP Global Sports and Content Sales. The new unit, which is bowing on the eve of the Mipcom TV market, manages a library of series and specials from FIC’s core channel brands Fox, National Geographic Channel, Fox Sports and FoxLife. Prentiss Fraser, recently announced SVP Global Entertainment Sales, will head the group’s entertainment strategy; National Geographic Channel’s Germaine Deagan Sweet will handle the new role of SVP Factual and Commercial Operations; and Andrew Guy will serve as SVP Sports Content Sales. Also joining the team is Connie Hodson from Sky Vision, as VP Commercial Affairs.