LONDON: Middle East television fans are being promised a new dawn with the rise of a new studio focused on nurturing local talent and programs tailored to the region’s audiences.
Rise Studios has been set up by former executives from OSN and Warner Bros. Discovery to build a portfolio of hits they say will add to the “renaissance” of entertainment in the region.
The venture has signed deals with several big production companies, invested in regional content and plans to broadcast and stream homegrown films and shows.
Amanda Turnbull, a founder and former regional manager at Warner, said: “We’re really committed to the region. It’s changing so rapidly: Cinema is having a renaissance, and all the streamers are also piling in. There is increasing opportunity … and fantastic ideas we want to tap into.”
Turnbull and her partners Emad Morcos and Amel Farag have spent the last 18 months signing agreements with production studios from the region.
“We did not just slap on the studio’s name just for the sake of it. It was really about going out there and creating a studio by consolidating a number of production companies … that represent different specializations,” said Morcos, a former chief content and commercial officer at OSN.
“We could have taken the investment and started to produce on our own but we decided that the best way forward was to find successful production companies that had the right pedigree.”
Rise has already signed deals with several high-profile studios including Partner Pro of Egypt, whose past credits include “Finding Ola”; advertising creative house ASAP, headed by film director Sherif Arafa and Amin El-Masri; and Lebanon- and UAE-based reality television specialist Different Productions, which is set to launch “Dubai Bling” on Netflix on Oct. 27.
The studio has also signed agreements with Watan Network, a multi-channel venture, and Black Typhoon, which develops original Saudi productions.
Rise is backed by Great Mountain Partners, a global investor in media and entertainment companies. Its founder, Alex Thomson, said the company sees “great potential from the Middle East and are enthused about investing in Rise Studios.”