Cannes: Rocket Science, Front Row Form Dubai-Based Banner for Arabic Content

Photographed by Steve Schofield
Rocket Science's Thorsten Schumacher

Yalla Yalla, which has attracted a former Wild Bunch executive, has ambitions to have four features and two TV series produced within the first 18 months.

Middle East distributor and producer Front Row Film Entertainment has formed a joint venture with U.K.-based sales banner Rocket Science that will focus on developing Arabic language entertainment for film and TV.

Yalla Yalla, based in Dubai, will develop, package, produce and finance big- and small-screen projects for the Middle East and North Africa, with a view to expanding beyond the region. It has already been active in acquiring remake rights and developing original content.

The company hopes to have four feature films and two TV series produced within the first 18 months.

Former Wild Bunch head of acquisitions Rita Dagher — whose credits include A Prayer Before Dawn, Miss Julie, Four Lions and Fahrenheit 9/11 — will serve as creative producer and is currently in the process of hiring more staff.

"Establishing this new venture felt natural to us and the timing couldn’t be more perfect," said Gianluca Chakra of Front Row Filmed Entertainment and Rocket Science’s Thorsten Schumacher. "Both companies' complementary expertise, relationships and positioning create a solid foundation to make this company thrive as the leading content player in the Middle East as the MENA market expands. Rita’s experience and knowledge in the region and internationally will be key in identifying projects and local talent and bringing these projects to life."

"Yalla yalla" is an Arabic expression used to mean "come on."