Tigris Entertainment Raises $15 Million for Saudi Arabian Projects
LONDON - Tigris Entertainment, an LA-based production and financing company, is taking aim at the Arab youth market for a broad spectrum of projects including film, TV, animation and documentaries, backed with a $15 million revolving fund.
Recently formed by ex-Iraqi soldier Lewis Alsamari, Tigris Entertainment has secured early investment from Saudi entrepreneur Omar Abdulaziz Alsheikh, a member of the Al ash-Sheikh family.
"We see a tremendous opportunity to reach a new generation of young people with high quality productions that focus on positive story lines," said Alsamari. "Our film and television projects showcase the beauty and modern culture of the real Middle East, in contrast with some of the stereotypes currently present in mainstream media and entertainment."
Alsheikh added: "The population of MENA stands at 500 million people, of whom some 65 percent are under 30 years old. This young and brave generation is tech savvy and came of age."
An in-house team will drive distribution, with Middle East and North Africa providing the bulk of the presales.
Alsamari, who went AWOL from Saddam's military intelligence unit in the 1990's, landed as a refugee in the U.K. and went on to write the Random House published “Out of Iraq.”
Billed as an exhilarating and terrifying story of one man's escape from one of the harshest regimes of the modern era, the book has been adapted as a screenplay and will launch Tigris' development slate.
With private equity being assembled, the movie is aiming to begin production in February, 2013 in the U.K. and Middle East.
Tigris is sounding out directors, with Alsamari attached to star.
Tigris is represented by management/production banner Brillstein Entertainment Partners, with 14-year veteran Jai Khanna shepherding the production slate.
"We believe in their vision of providing fresh content to an emerging market, and look forward to supporting them with the wealth of resources within Brillstein," said Khanna.