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Image Nation Abu Dhabi pacts with producers Roy Lee, Steven Schneider

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Image Nation Abu Dhabi pacts with producers Roy Lee, Steven Schneider
Three-year production deal aims for one genre film a year.

Image Nation Abu Dhabi has struck a production deal with veteran producers Roy Lee and Steven Schneider on a slate of high-concept, modestly- budgeted English-language genre films.

The goal is for the projects to demonstrate broad international appeal and franchise potential and make at least one film a year that Image Nation will fully finance. The parties declined to reveal titles.

The deal reunites Schneider with Image Nation after their recent collaboration on Ali F. Mostafa’s dystopian thriller The Worthy, set to debut worldwide this month on Netflix after it became the streaming service’s first acquisition in the UAE.Schneider produced with Peter Safran and Rami Yasin.

Lee and Schneider helped launch genre franchises including The Ring, Paranormal Activity, Insidious and The Grudge.

Besides The Worthy, Image Nation’s regional genre credits encompass Djinn, Majid Al Ansari’s debut feature Rattle The Cage (Zinzana).

Schneider
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MipTV: Mbc Group and Image Nation Abu Dhabi Forge Production Partnership

Rome — Top Arab free-to-air satcaster Mbc Group and prominent Middle East production company Image Nation Abu Dhabi, which has Hollywood ties, have announced a film and TV production partnership that will spawn an ambitious Saudi Arabia-set sci-fi feature film and its bold TV spinoff, plus two more TV series.

The tie-up could become a game changer in the region where edgy high-end original productions are scarce.

Mbc’s production arm O3 Productions and Image Nation have announced they will co-finance and co-produce an Arabic-language adaptation of Saudi author Ibraheem Abbas’ sci-fi novel “Hwjn,” a pop culture phenomenon across the Arab world. The book about a supernatural being described as “a friendly devout Jinn” in press materials who forges a friendship with a female Saudi medical student named Sawsan, has become a best-seller in several Gulf countries, including Saudi Arabia, though it has been reportedly banned in Kuwait and Qatar. The censorship may partly help to explain why
See full article at Variety - TV News »

Arab Film Funding Hits Wall

It isn’t getting any easier for producers of quality Arab movies to find financing, especially within their region where the only titles that consistently work at the box office are commercial Egyptian romancers, comedies and action pics that don’t travel internationally.

Still, Arab films with fresh narratives and visual styles burst forth on the international festival circuit in the aftermath of the so-called Arab Spring, which had industrial as well as creative consequences. And the cinematic collaboration with Europe is getting stronger.

Egyptian producer Mohamed Hefzy points out that the Arab film funding well got drier recently with the shuttering of the Abu Dhabi Film Festival and its Sanad film fund, just as private equity coin continues to be scarce “because a lot of these movies don’t pay back.” The only positive difference, he notes, “is there are more European co-productions” and several curated industry events “make
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Im Global TV to Sell Groundbreaking Arabic Legal Drama ‘Justice’

Rome – Groundbreaking Abu Dhabi-set legal drama “Justice,” inspired by “L.A. Law” and written by Emmy Award-winning U.S. producer and writer William Finkelstein in collaboration with a local team, is set for a shot at global exposure.

Im Global Television has taken worldwide distribution rights to the Arabic TV series which is the first legal procedural out of the Middle East and the biggest TV show out of the United Arab Emirates.

“Justice” is financed by Image Nation Abu Dhabi, which is run by U.S. exec Michael Garin. It’s produced in tandem with Walter Parkes, whose L.A.-based Parkes/MacDonald Productions has a partnership with Image Nation. Another American, former HBO Europe drama chief Marc Lorber, served as showrunner. Dubai-based Beeline Media was the on-the-ground producer.

The show revolves around a strong female character named Farah, a Western-educated lawyer, played by Emirati actress Fatima Al Taei (pictured). Upon returning home to Abu Dhabi, Farah
See full article at Variety - TV News »

Diff to open with 'Miss Sloane', close with 'Rogue One'

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Diff to open with 'Miss Sloane', close with 'Rogue One'
This year’s Dubai International Film Festival (Diff, December 7-14) will open with John Madden’s political thriller Miss Sloane and close with Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

Starring Jessica Chastain, Miss Sloane revolves around a ruthless lobbyist in Washington DC. Lucasfilm’s Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, directed by Gareth Edwards, opens in UAE theatres on December 15.

Celebrating its 13th edition this year, Diff will screen 156 films from 55 countries, including 57 world and international premieres, 73 Mena premieres, 12 Middle East premieres and 9 Gcc premieres.

Red carpet galas at Diff include the world premiere of Aditya Chopra’s Befikre; Ang Lee’s Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk; Swallows And Amazons, Emirati director Ali F. Mostafa’s third feature The Worthy; and Lone Scherfig’s romantic comedy Their Finest, starring Gemma Arterton, Bill Nighy and Sam Claflin.

Diff’s Beach Screenings include Jordan Robert’s Burn Your Maps, starring Vera Farmiga and Jacob Tremblay; Michaël Dudok de Wit
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Studiocanal, Parkes+MacDonald Board ‘Fallen Idol,’ Hindenburg Movies

Studiocanal, Parkes+MacDonald Board ‘Fallen Idol,’ Hindenburg Movies
French production giant Studiocanal and Parkes+MacDonald Productions have formed a partnership for four films, including a remake of “Fallen Idol” and a movie about the 1937 Hindenburg disaster.

The alliance is aimed at fulfilling Studiocanal’s goal of making European-based movies for an international audience.

Walter Parkes and Laurie MacDonald will produce each feature, with President of Production Evan Hayes serving as executive producer. “Fallen Idol,” “Hindenberg” and music promoter saga “The Great Pretender” are being developed in association with Parkes+MacDonald partner ImageNation Abu Dhabi.

The first film under the new deal will be “The Great Pretender,” based on the autobiography of London-based music promoter Roy Tempest, who organized UK tours in the 1960s for some of America’s biggest soul acts – even though the acts were fakes. Ol Parker (“The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”) is writing the screen adaptation of the book. Intellectual Property Group’s Joel Gotler,
See full article at Variety - Film News »

AFM: Im Global Boards Ali Mostafa’s Thriller ‘The Worthy’

AFM: Im Global Boards Ali Mostafa’s Thriller ‘The Worthy’
Im Global and Cinetic Media have come on board Ali Mostafa’s dystopian thriller “The Worthy” and will handle international sales at the American Film Market.

The film, which had its world premiere at the BFI London Film Festival last month, is produced by Image Nation Abu Dhabi. Im Global will handle sales through its Anthem label.

In addition, director Ali Mostafa has signed with UTA for representation.

The Worthy” is set in a world in chaos after the vast majority of the world’s water supply is lethally contaminated. A small group of survivors who have taken refuge near a rare clean water source are thrust into a deadly game of cat and mouse from infiltrators who aren’t what they seem.

The film stars Samer Al Masri (“Bab Al Hara”), Ali Suliman (“Zinzana”) and Maisa Abd Elhadi (3000 Nights). The film is produced by Rami Yasin along with Hollywood veterans Peter Safran (“The Conjuring,
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Image Nation Abu Dhabi plots three features

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Image Nation Abu Dhabi plots three features
Rattle The Cage director Majid Al Ansari [pictured] will be an executive producer on the projects.

Middle East-based production outfit Image Nation Abu Dhabi plans to begin production on three feature projects in the final quarter of 2016.

All three films will shoot on location in the UAE and Oman. The first of which, comedy On Borrowed Time, will commence principle photography next month in Dubai.

The second film, body-switch comedy Rashid & Rajib, is set to shoot in November, and the final film, Scales, a dark drama about mermaids, will film in early 2017.

Film-maker Majid Al Ansari will be an executive producer on each of the projects. His 2015 crime thriller Rattle The Cage (Zinzana) was Netflix’s first UAE acquisition.

Image Nation’s recent projects include Ali Mostafa’s UAE thriller The Worthy and legal drama television series Justice. The company was also a producer on the Mark Wahlberg-starring disaster film Deepwater Horizon, which premiered
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Hany Abu-Assad’s 'The Idol' Opening N.Y. May 27th!

Image Nation Abu Dhabi, one of the leading media and entertainment companies in the Arabic-speaking world, came onboard Hany Abu-Assad’s "The Idol" during the film’s final postproduction phase.

"The Idol" will have its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival today in the Special Presentations section.

Directed by acclaimed Palestinian filmmaker Hany Abu-Assad ("Paradise Now," "Omar"), "The Idol" tells the inspirational true life story of Mohammad Assaf, a wedding singer from Gaza who became a worldwide sensation after winning the live-singing competition Arab Idol in 2013.

Read More: Tiff Films from African and the Middle East

Michael Garin, CEO of Image Nation said: “Hany Abu-Assad is one of the Arab region’s most gifted filmmakers and we greatly admire his work. Image Nation’s decision to join the project at this stage is a validation of the quality of that work. Not only is this a great team, but it’s a great film and we are thrilled to be part of it. ”

Added Abu-Assad: “This is the first time I’ve worked with Image Nation and I am very happy with our first collaboration on 'The Idol.' I hope this film will mark the beginning of a beautiful friendship".

"The Idol" is one of Image Nation’s two high-profile screenings at Toronto Film Festival, which will feature the highly-anticipated feature documentary "He Named Me Malala," directed by Academy Award®-winner Davis Guggenheim ("An Inconvenient Truth"). The film is being released by Fox Searchlight, in association with Image Nation Abu Dhabi, Participant Media, and National Geographic Channel. The documentary was produced by Walter Parkes and Laurie MacDonald under their long-term partnership with Image Nation.

"The Idol" will then be showcased at BFI London Film Festival, where Image Nation will be celebrating the European premieres of three other titles – "He Named Me Malala," Majid Al Ansari’s "Zinzana" and Ali Mostafa’s "From A to B."

Garin added: “Image Nation is starting the festival season strong with notable lineups at Toronto Film Festival and BFI London Film Festival. It’s a particular high point for us to be able to bring the work of two gifted Emirati filmmakers to international audiences, and it’s a testament to the rapid development of our narrative and documentary slates.”

Read More: SydneysBuzz' Tiff's Feature Films Report Available Now!

"The Idol" has already made an impact in the market. Seville Sales is handling international rights to the film outside the Middle East and has already closed a number of deals in over 20 territories including France (TF1), Germany (Koch), Japan (New Select), Australia (Umbrella), Latin America (California Filmes), China (Beijing Xiangjiang YiHua Films), Hong Kong (Edko), India (PVR), Taiwan (Spring International), and South Korea (Kaon Contents & Media). Mbc is releasing in the Middle East and North Africa through its 03 production arm. EOne will distribute in Spain. U.S. rights are still available.
See full article at SydneysBuzz »

‘Game of Thrones’ Star Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, WWE’s Randy Orton to Attend Middle East Comic Con (Exclusive)

‘Game of Thrones’ Star Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, WWE’s Randy Orton to Attend Middle East Comic Con (Exclusive)
Game of Thrones” Kingslayer Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, WWE superstar Randy Orton, and cult sci-fi actress Summer Glau (“Firefly,” “Serenity,” “Castle”) are among new names added to a high-profile roster of guests recruited to attend the fifth Middle East Film and Comic Con to be held in Dubai April 7-9.

They join previously announced Deadpool co-creator Fabian Nicieza, veteran sci-fi and fantasy pics star Christopher Lloyd (“Back to the Future”) and Stan Lee, who created pretty much every major superhero in the Marvel Universe. Lee will appear in a live link-up from L.A.

Also making the trek to the growing event billed as the leading pop culture festival in the Middle East is prolific screenwriter Max Landis who penned the script for hot upcoming Will Smith pic “Bright.” And American comic book writer and artist Whilce Portico, known for titles such as “The Punisher,” “Uncanny X-Men,” “Iron Man,” “Wetworks” and “Spawn.
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Ali Mostafa’s ‘The Worthy’ Teaser: East & West Join In Dystopian Future

Ali Mostafa’s ‘The Worthy’ Teaser: East & West Join In Dystopian Future
Exclusive: The end of the world looks pretty terrifying in any language if The Worthy is anything to go by. Image Nation Abu Dhabi might just have its biggest local-language hit to date judging by this sizzle reel for Emirati filmmaker Ali Mostafa’s The Worthy. Set in a dystopian future which has been plunged into chaos due to a chronic water shortage, the story follows a small group of survivors seeking refuge with the only clean remaining water source in the area. When…
See full article at Deadline Movie News »

Diff: Image Nation sneak previews The Worthy

Diff: Image Nation sneak previews The Worthy
Abu Dhabi film company Image Nation gave a sneak peak of Emirati director Ali Mostafa’s upcoming feature The Worthy, set in a dystopian future in chaos following a chronic water shortage, at Diff on Sunday.

“I think it’s safe to describe it as the Arab world’s first post-apocalyptic feature,” said Mostafa [pictured] who was joined at a news conference by Image Nation’s head of narrative Ben Ross and producer Rami Yasin.

A short trailer showed a fast-paced high-octane work set in a derelict world reduced to rubble in which everyone has to fight for survival.

It is Mostafa’s third film after his breakthrough title City Of Life and pan-Arab road movie From A To B. The director said the decision to shoot an action thriller was in keeping with his long-term aim to shoot a variety of genres.

“As a filmmaker, it’s always been important to me to be as diverse as possible
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Mia: Dubai-Based Tharwa Productions To Tackle Syrian Immigrant Strife In ‘Grace Period’

Mia: Dubai-Based Tharwa Productions To Tackle Syrian Immigrant Strife In ‘Grace Period’
Rome – Producer Paul Baboudjian’s Dubai-based Tharwa Productions is in development on timely drama “Grace Period,” about a Syrian who has escaped war and fled to Dubai, which is to be directed by Bahraini first-time director Saleh Nass.

Project is at Rome’s New Cinema Network co-prod platform for works in early stages.

Baboudjian recently set up Tharwa in Dubai to produce relevant pics by Arab and Emirati helmers. He says “Grace Period” is a rarity because it intends to depict the largely unexplored immigrant underworld in the region.

“Most of the countries in the Gulf have an expatriate community that is more numerous than the local population,” he noted. “And most of these are Asian and Arab workers who lead a difficult but colourful life, attending to various tasks that no one else wants to do.”

In “Grace Period” a young Syrian escapes war at home hoping to find
See full article at Variety - Film News »

BFI London Film Festival 2015 Line-Up announced with Gala screenings of Steve Jobs, High-Rise, Trumbo, Black Mass, Carol & Suffragette

The 59Th BFI London Film Festival Announces Full 2015 Programme

You can peruse the programme at your leisure here.

The programme for the 59th BFI London Film Festival in partnership launched today, with Festival Director Clare Stewart presenting this year’s rich and diverse selection of films and events. BFI London Film Festival is Britain’s leading film event and one of the world’s oldest film festivals. It introduces the finest new British and international films to an expanding London and UK-wide audience. The Festival provides an essential platform for films seeking global success; and promotes the careers of British and international filmmakers through its industry and awards programmes. With this year’s industry programme stronger than ever, offering international filmmakers and leaders a programme of insightful events covering every area of the film industry‎ Lff positions London as the world’s leading creative city.

The Festival will screen a
See full article at SoundOnSight »

Cannes 2015: deals round-up

The biggest deals of this year’s Cannes Marché du Film and how the Competition titles sold throughout the festival.

Behind the glamour of this year’s Cannes Film Festival, business was booming at the Marché du Film (May 13-22), with representatives from 120 countries in attendance - up four on 2014.

A total 3,300 films were on offer this year, around 1,000 at the project stage, with an estimated 11,000 film professionals in attendance, in line with last year.

In the opening days, Marché chief Jérôme Paillard told Screen: “Acquisition agents are telling me that it’s the first time in a number of years that there are so many big projects. I’ve been told there are around 50 high profile projects on offer.”

North AmericaHOT Projects

Universal Pictures and Focus Features took worldwide rights to Tom Ford’s upcoming thriller Nocturnal Animals, starring Amy Adams and Jake Gyllenhaal, in a deal reportedly worth $20m. [Story]

Open Road paid
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Cannes '15: Image Nation Abu Dhabi Reteams with Emirati Filmmaker Ali Mostafa on New Feature Film “The Worthy”

Pioneering Emirati filmmaker Ali Mostafa ("From A To B") is reteaming with Image Nation Abu Dhabi on his next feature, "The Worthy," which will go into production later this year.

The "From A to B" director will be joined by Hollywood veterans Peter Safran ("The Conjuring," "Annabelle") and Steven Schneider ("Paranormal Activity," "Insidious") who have come on board to produce the project with Mostafa’s regional producer Rami Yasin ( Sea Shadow," "From A to B").

"The Worthy" is set in a dystopian future which has been plunged into chaos due to a chronic water shortage. The story follows a small group of survivors seeking refuge with the only clean remaining water source in the area. When two visitors infiltrate their compound, they soon become pawns in a test for survival, where only one of them shall be chosen worthy.

Ali Mostafa was joined by producer Rami Yasin and Image Nation’s head of narrative, Ben Ross in Cannes to make the announcement.

Mostafa said: “As the first action/thriller I’m directing, 'The Worth' is a new adventure for me. My producers, Peter and Steven, have produced some of the best genre movies ever made with critical and commercial hits such as 'The Conjuring' and 'Paranormal Activity.' They are really at the top of their game right now and their expertise will be invaluable on The Worthy so I’m excited to be working with them and with Image Nation again on 'The Worthy.'”

Producer Peter Safan said: “The film industry in Abu Dhabi is at an extremely exciting time in its development, I am looking forward to playing a small part in its growth by working on this fantastic film.”

Steven Schneider said about joining the project as a producer: “Image Nation is a pioneering force in the UAE community and Ali Mostafa is such a unique talent. I think we have an amazing team working on this project and I’m grateful to be a part of it.”

The announcement comes on the heels of Mostafa’s last film "From A to B," co-produced by twofour54 and Image Nation, topping iTunes charts across the Middle East. The hit comedy drama is set to be released theatrically in the UK and Italy this year.

Mohamed Al Mubarak, Chairman of Image Nation, said of the upcoming project: “We’re so happy to be working with Ali Mostafa again on this exciting new genre film. He is a true talent and shares our vision for growing the local and regional film industry.”

Michael Garin, CEO of Image Nation said: “Image Nation Abu Dhabi is able to create projects like this due to our unique ability to team Hollywood expertise with local talent.”

Image Nation has been ramping up its film and TV production output over the last year and recently wrapped its next feature film from first time feature Emirati director, Majid Al Ansari. "Zinzana" is set to release in the UAE this fall. The news follows the recent announcement that The Media Zone Authority is set to focus on new initiatives to further support local and Arab films and filmmakers.

Michael added: “This announcement comes at an exciting time as we prepare to enter a new era of filmmaking in the UAE and the region. To be announcing two huge productions with Emirati directors in such a short period of time is an incredible step and is reflective of how we are continuing to grow rapidly as a local industry.”

Earlier this week, Image Nation announced they will be fully financing James Ponsoldt’s upcoming feature adaptation of Dave Eggers’ contemporary thriller "The Circle" starring Tom Hanks and Alicia Vikander. The film will be presented by Image Nation in association with Parkes MacDonald Productions. The film is being produced by Hanks and Goetzman for Playtone, Anthony Bregman for Likely Story, and Ponsoldt.

Image Nation’s documentary slate includes the high-profile feature documentary "He Named Me Malala," directed by Oscar-winning filmmaker Davis Guggenheim ("An Inconvenient Truth") and co-produced by Participant Media. Fox Searchlight will open the film in the U.S. on October 2. And directed by award-winning filmmaker Tom Roberts, "Every Last Child" follows the lives of five people caught up in the current Polio crisis in Pakistan. Zeitgeist Films releases "Every Last Child" in the U.S. from June 3, and the film recently screened as part of the Special Presentations lineup at the Hot Docs international documentary festival in Canada.
See full article at SydneysBuzz »

Emirati Director Ali Mostafa Set To Shoot Futuristic Thriller ‘The Worthy’ With U.S. Producers

Emirati Director Ali Mostafa Set To Shoot Futuristic Thriller ‘The Worthy’ With U.S. Producers
Emirati director Ali Mostafa, whose buddy/road movie “From A to B” opened last’s year’s Abu Dhabi film fest, is reteaming with Image Nation Abu Dhabi on futuristic thriller “The Worthy,” which will go into production later this year with the U.S. producers behind “The Conjuring” and “Paranormal Activity” on board to shepherd this quite unique Arabic genre pic.

Hollywood veterans Peter Safran (“The Conjuring,” “Annabelle”) and Steven Schneider (“Paranormal Activity,” “Insidious”) have come on board to produce the project with Mostafa’s regional producer Rami Yasin (“Sea Shadow,” “From A to B”).

“The Worthy,” which is penned by U.S. writer Vicram Weet (“Twisted,” “Keeping Up With the Kardashians”) is set in a dystopian future that has been plunged into chaos due to a chronic water shortage. It follows a small group of survivors seeking refuge with the only remaining clean water source in the area.
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Image Nation Reteams With Ali Mostafa For ‘The Worthy’, Genre Vets Peter Safran & Steve Schneider To Produce – Cannes

Image Nation Reteams With Ali Mostafa For ‘The Worthy’, Genre Vets Peter Safran & Steve Schneider To Produce – Cannes
Image Nation Abu Dhabi is reteaming with Emirati filmmaker Ali Mostafa on sci-fi project The Worthy and bringing genre experts Peter Safran (The Conjuring) and Steven Schneider (Paranormal Activity) to produce alongside Rami Yasin. Image Nation, Mostafa and Yasin previously worked together on the road trip pic From A To B, which Studio Canal will release in the UK. The Worthy is set in a dystopian future which has been plunged into chaos due to a chronic water shortage…
See full article at Deadline Movie News »

Ali Mostafa teams with Us producers for 'The Worthy'

Mostafa teaming with Image Nation and Us producers Peter Safran and Steven Schneider.

Image Nation Abu Dhabi and Us producers Peter Safran and Steven Schneider have boarded Emirati filmmaker Ali Mostafa’s next feature The Worthy.

Set in a dystopian future plunged into chaos by a chronic water shortage, the story follows a group of survivors seeking refuge near a rare remaining clean water source

When two visitors infiltrate their compound, they soon become pawns in a test for survival, where only one of them shall be chosen as worthy.

It is a first action thriller for Mostafa whose last film was the tragi-comic Middle East road movie From to A to B.

“The Worthy is a new adventure for me. Peter and Steven, have produced some of the best genre movies ever made with critical and commercial hits such as The Conjuring and Paranormal Activity,” said Mostafa who was in Cannes on Friday (May 15) to promote
See full article at ScreenDaily »

Image Nation unveils Ali Mostafa’s 'The Worthy'

Hollywood veterans Peter Safran and Steven Schneider also on project.

Image Nation Abu Dhabi and Hollywood veterans Peter Safran and Steven Schneider have boarded Emirati filmmaker Ali Mostafa’s next feature The Worthy.

Set in a dystopian future plunged into chaos due to a chronic water shortage, the story follows a small group of survivors seeking refuge close to the only clean remaining water source in the area.

When two visitors infiltrate their compound, they soon become pawns in a test for survival, where only one of them shall be chosen worthy.

It is a first action thriller for Mostafa whose last film was the Middle East road movie From to A to B.

“The Worthy is a new adventure for me. My producers, Peter and Steven, have produced some of the best genre movies ever made with critical and commercial hits such as The Conjuring and Paranormal Activity,” said Mostafa.

“They are really
See full article at ScreenDaily »
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