Image Nation, MBC Studios announce deal at Cannes to promote Mideast projects

The announcement was made on Wednesday in Cannes. mmar Abd Rabbo/Arab News)
Updated 15 May 2019

Image Nation, MBC Studios announce deal at Cannes to promote Mideast projects

CANNES: Image Nation Abu Dhabi, MBC studios and Majid Al-Futtaim Ventures on Wednesday announced they will be launching a production partnership for film and TV projects across the Middle East that will greenlight several projects annually.

Members of the press from around the world gathered in a hotel in Cannes on Wednesday morning as a partnership was announced between film and entertainment company Image Nation Abu Dhabi, MBC studios, which spearheads the Saudi company’s push into high-end Arabic scripted content, and Majid Al-Futtaim Ventures.

The partnership will support projects from inception to distribution and will focus on Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt. On Wednesday, it was announced that the first film supported by the new partnership is called “Three Four Eternity,” a vampire family drama by director Mohamed Hefzy.




L to R: Michael Garin, CEO, Image Nation Abu Dhabi, Khaled El Chidiac, Acting CEO, Majid Al Futtaim Ventures and Peter Smith, Managing Director, MBC Studios attended a press conference during the Cannes International Film Festival to announce a production and distribution partnership for film & TV projects in the Middle East.

CEO of Image Nation Abu Dhabi Michael Garin, Managing Director of MBC studios Peter Smith and CEO of Majid Al-Futtaim Ventures Khaled El-Chidiac were on hand to make the announcement at The Grand Hotel in Cannes.

“This region has had the talent but it hasn’t had the resources and infrastructure until now,” Garin said during the panel discussion.

“Part of this partnership is promoting movies and films for Saudi Arabia,” El-Chidiac added.  

Ali Jaafar from the MBC Group added his hopes that the platform would launch new Arab stars.

“We want to launch a new generation of Arab film stars… We haven’t had one since Omar Sharif,” he said, before adding, “How can we take kids from Saudi Arabia or Dubai and turn them into big stars? The talent is there.”

The news was revealed on the sidelines of the 72nd Cannes Film Festival which kicked off on Tuesday evening and will run until May 25.


Holocaust-based film ‘to screen at Red Sea Film Fest’

Updated 19 February 2020

Holocaust-based film ‘to screen at Red Sea Film Fest’

  • The Jonathan Jakubowicz-directed World War II film will mark the first time a film that explores the Holocaust will screen in the Kingdom
  • ‘Resistance’ tells the story of mime artist Marcel Marceau, who joins the French Resistance at the beginning of World War II in order to help save the lives of 10,000 Jewish orphans

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea Film Festival unveiled its inaugural movie lineup this week, with a few surprises on the list, including Holocaust-based film, “Resistance.”

The Jonathan Jakubowicz-directed World War II film, starring Jesse Eisenberg as Marcel Marceau, who was a member of the French Resistance, will mark the first time a film that explores the Holocaust will screen in the Kingdom.

The significance was not lost on film aficionados, who took to social media to congratulate the Venezuelan director.

“Congratulations @JoJakubowicz I am very proud of all your achievements,” one user wrote. “A geopolitical achievement. Good job, Jonathan!” another user tweeted. 

“I think it’s a promising move toward artistic freedom,” Makkah-based Saudi filmmaker Talal Wassmy told Arab News when asked what the implications of the screening would be.

Meanwhile, Abdullah Yahya, a Saudi film critic for movie-focused website filmphoria.com, added that “it is a great cultural shift toward a less prejudiced mindset. I am glad we are no longer beholden to one narrative when it comes to history.”

The biographical drama tells the story of a young French actor, Marcel Marceau, who joins the French Resistance at the beginning of World War II in order to help save the lives of 10,000 Jewish orphans from Nazi forces in France.

Marceau, who was also famous for being a mime artist that delighted audiences for decades as “Bip,” used his miming skills to keep the orphaned children comfortable and quiet during the risky smuggled escapes to Switzerland.

“The kids loved Marcel and felt safe with him,” the late actor’s cousin and commander of the French Resistance, Georges Loinger, told the Jewish Telegraph Agency in 2007, after Marceau’s death.

“The kids had to appear like they were simply going on vacation to a home near the Swiss border and Marcel really put them at ease.”

The full cast of the film includes Edgar Ramírez, Clémence Poésy, Bella Ramsey, Matthias Schweighöfer, Géza Röhrig, Karl Markovics, Félix Moati, Alicia von Rittberg and Vica Kerekes. 

The film will be screened in Saudi Arabia before it is released in the US on March 27.