Dubai-based distributor Front Row Films has closed a number of buzzy deals coming out of Cannes as it continues to push forward with its ambition of becoming the leading indie distrib in the Middle East. The company, which is strategically partnered with the Kuwait National Cinema has negotiated a deal with burgeoning production and distribution outfit A24 to acquire the Daniel Radcliffe, Paul Dano starrer Swiss Army Man.
Front Row also picked up three Insiders projects in partnership with Teleview International, including David Robert Mitchell’s Under The Silver Lake, starring Dakota Johnson and Andrew Garfield; Kings, the English language debut from Mustang director Denis Gamze Erguven starring Halle Berry and the Lynn Ramsey directed thriller You Were Never Really Here starring Joaquin Phoenix.
Front Row also forged a relationship with Amy Beecroft’s Verve Ventures over the Ridley Scott produced and presented Twisted directed by Olatunde Osunsamni. Front Row also acquired Protagonist pictures The God Four starring Michael Douglas, Jai Courtney and Natalie Dormer; Clio Barnard’s thriller Dark River with Sean Bean and Ruth Wilson; and, Michael O’Shea’s vampire tale The Transfiguration which premiered at this year’s “Un Certain Regard”.
Other titles acquired include J.D Salinger biopic Rebel in the Rye written and directed by Danny Strong and starring Nicolas Hoult, Kevin Spacey and Hope Davis; Breathe from Academy Award nominated writer William Nicholson (Gladiator) starring Andrew Garfield and Claire Foy and directed by Andy Serkis; The Forest of Hands and Teeth, a fantasy adventure based on author Carrie Ryan’s young adult best-selling trilogy and starring Game of Thrones’ Maisie Williams.
Front Row also closed deals for Yorgos Lanthimos’ follow up The Killing of a Sacred Deer starring Colin Farrell and Nicole Kidman and also entered into an agreement with XYZ Films over Wigwam Films’ Farsi language horror pic Under the Shadow. It will release the film theatrically and on VOD in the region before its worldwide release on Netflix.
“While continuing to focus on theatrical titles, we also need to observe the way the business of film is quickly shifting. Other than Netflix and StarzPlay, SVOD platforms are shrooming in the region (and worldwide) which are bound to change the viewing habits of moviegoers directly competing not only with PAY and FREE TV networks, but eventually also with exhibitors. As distributors, we need to satisfy the needs of each… which is what we hope our selection will do.” said Gianluca Chakra, Managing Partner at Front Row Filmed Entertainment.
“Our acquisition slate doesn’t stop with the Cannes one as we’re currently finalizing more titles for our Arabic and Local division with key Arab producers,” added Hisham AlGhanim, General Manager at the Kuwait National Cinema Company. “We need to encourage the Arabic Film industry as a whole and build a sustainable model for it to survive.”
Front Row Filmed Entertainment recently closed a worldwide deal with Netflix on the critically acclaimed Lebanese pic “Very Big Shot” directed by Mir-Jean BouChaaya and produced by Kabreet productions.