Bucking the trend of what is considered a slow year at the AFM, prominent Dubai-based independent Middle East film distributor Front Row Filmed Entertainment has gone on a buying spree, picking up twenty titles in Santa Monica, most of them genre pics which indicate the growing appetite for slashers, sci-fiers, and chillers in the region.
They include John Hyams-directed “Maniac Cop” remake about a murderous cop who returns from the dead to patrol the New York City streets, produced by Nicolas Winding Refn, and Antonio Banderas-starrer “New Faith” by hot Latin American director Alejandro Brugues (“Juan of the Dead”) both from Wild Bunch, as well as fresh genre fare from Protagonist Pictures, HanWay Films, Embankment Films, and other indies.
Titles will be co-distributed with long-time associate Teleview International across the Middle East.
Continuing their longstanding rapport, Front Row from Protagonist picked Sci-Fi romancer “The Discovery,” toplining Rooney Mara and Nicholas Holt. Titles they acquired from HanWay include Sean Byrne-directed heavy metal chiller “The Devil’s Candy” which bowed in Toronto. From Embankment Front Row took the remake of cult French horror flick “A L’Interieur,” titled “Inside,” about a pregnant widow in an isolated home contending with a predatory woman determined to snatch her unborn child. “Inside” comes from writers Jaume Balaguero and Manu Diez, who penned smash Spanish horror hit “REC” and “Kidnapped” director Miguel Vivas.
From Salt Film Front Row took high-concept chiller “The Neighbor,” directed by Marcus Dunstan (“Saw,” “The Collection”), among other titles.
Toon features were also a top priority for Front Row at AFM, including “Ping Pong Rabbit 3D,” directed by Mike Johnson (“The Corpse Bride”) acquired from from Cinema Management Group; Hippo Animation’s “King Fu Style” in 3D, which is currently in the process of casting A-List voices and being sold by Gorilla Pictures; and “H.P. Lovecraft and the Frozen Kingdom” picked up from Lighhouse Entertainment.
“With a mix of U.S., U.K. and Egyptian titles, we managed to release 44 theatrical titles this year and are committed to doing the same in 2016,” boasted Gianluca Chakra, Managing Partner of Front Row Filmed Entertainment, in a statement.
“However, in 2016 we will be focusing on developing the TVOD and SVOD business, trying to fill the void that DVD left in the industry,” he added.
Earlier this year Front Row sealed a deal with iTunes under which it will act as an aggregator for independent Arabic and Bollywood distribution companies who aim to make their titles available across the Middle East and also worldwide.