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New Saudi production company Red Palm Pictures inks multi-picture deal with “Norah” director Tawfik Alzaidi

Paul Chesney, former CEO of Universal Pictures, announced the launch of Riyadh-based production company Red Palm Pictures on the eve of the third Red Sea International Film Festival in Saudi Arabia.

Chesney has been appointed CEO of the new private production company, which will develop and produce original feature films, television and documentary content for theatrical and streaming releases in MENA and around the world.

The public announcement of the new production banner comes on the heels of the launch of sister distribution company TwentyOne Entertainment, also led by Chesney and under the same umbrella.

In its first major content signing, Red Palm Pictures has signed a multi-film development deal with Saudi writer and director Tawfik Alzaidi.

Alzaidi’s feature film debut Norah will make its world premiere in competition at the upcoming Red Sea Film Festival, which runs from November 30 to December 9, with TwentyOne Entertainment handling international distribution.

The first four-film deal begins with Alzaidi’s second film project, the action-adventure drama Thurayawhich he both writes and directs.

The film is currently in development and is expected to hit theaters in late 2024.

“There is a new wave of filmmaking in Saudi Arabia and remarkable undiscovered talent, both behind and in front of the camera,” Chesney said.

“Our goal is to be at the forefront of this growth and change and to nurture these filmmakers and provide them with local stories from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as well as international co-productions.”

Tawfik Alzaidi is a leading member of the new generation of filmmakers in Saudi Arabia.

He wrote, directed and produced his film Norah for the big screen, aiming to break Saudi Arabia’s YouTube and TV culture.

In 2006 he started directing his own short films The silence won the Gulf Short Film Award at the Muscat IFF in 2009, before Saudi Arabia’s 35-year cinema ban was lifted in 2017.

“I couldn’t be more excited to enter into this partnership with Paul Chesney and Red Palm Pictures, who understand and value my dreams as a filmmaker in the new Saudi Arabia,” said Alzaidi. “My goal is to use limitless imagination to create important and memorable stories and establish Saudi Arabia as a true creative force in the global film community.”

Source: Deadline

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