Rise Studios is based in Dubai Media City and has already invested in companies across Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Beirut, the UAE and the US including Partner Pro, Different Productions, ASAP, Black Typhoon and Watan Network.
A group of three well-known industry veterans have joined forces to launch Rise Studios, a company that will invest in regional production houses and local talent with the aim to create world-class productions that can be distributed on both regional and international platforms. The brainchild of Emad Morcos, former OSN Chief Content and Commercial Officer; Amanda Turnbull, previous General Manager at Warner Bros. Discovery MEA and Turkey; and Amel Farag, former Head of Content Commercial Strategy at OSN, Rise Studios is based in Dubai Media City and will take care of the commercial, distribution and legal aspects of the productions they support so producers and talent can focus on honing their craft.
“We have been working on this for the last 18 months,” Amanda Turnbull, Chief Executive Officer and co-founder for Rise Studios told BroadcastPro ME. “This is a new approach in the region and is unique since it gives our production partners an equity share in the bigger studio business. We invest in companies that have successful Arabic production track records and already work with the likes of MBC, OSN, StarzPlay and Netflix. We will accelerate their growth to take more of their productions to regional and international platforms. We have partnered with Great Mountain Partners (GMP), a US-based media and entertainment investor for this venture. They have immediate access to an ecosystem of IP producers from across North America and Europe. They have a very long-term view and that’s why they fit the needs of this market.”
Rise has already invested in companies across Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Beirut, the UAE and the US. These include Egyptian scripted series and movie specialist, Partner Pro, and advertising creative house ASAP headed by film director Sherif Arafa and Amin El Masri; Lebanon and UAE-based factual reality specialist Different Productions, helmed by Mazen Laham; Watan Network, led by Bassel Khair; and Omar Hussein’s Black Typhoon, which has been funded for the specific development of original content in Saudi Arabia.
Partner Pro produced the regional hit Finding Ola and is in pre-production for a second season of this popular Netflix show. Different Productions is set to launch Dubai Bling with Netflix on October 27, 2022, having successfully launched Chopped with DubaiTV and Say Yes to the Dress with Discovery and StarzPlay Arabia. Watan Network is one of the largest multi-channel networks in the Arab world with over 5bn combined views monthly and 14bn watch time minutes per month on YouTube, Facebook and Snap. Black Typhoon is an established Saudi Arabian producer whose founding team have over 10 years of experience creating content for platforms including UTurn, OSN and MBC.
Rise Studios leverages its funding to create owned intellectual property (IP) that reflects the regional zeitgeist and delivers the type of content that audiences are looking for.
With the backing of Great Mountain Partners (GMP), which is already part of the expansion journeys for acclaimed media groups such as Concord, Confluential Films, AiMi and A24, the Rise Studios team is confident it will be able to help raise the profile of regional content and talent.
“We believe that stories can be told differently and champion rich regional narratives that resonate locally and travel globally, leaving lasting impressions. Through collective commercial expertise and data intelligence, we pinpoint the right content for the right platforms, while discovering, supporting, and giving regional talent the recognition that it deserves,” commented Emad Morcos, Chairman of Rise Studios.
Amin El Masri, Executive Producer for Partner Pro, stated: “We are excited to join this collaborative ecosystem of like-minded professionals with the aim of producing even more groundbreaking content that will ultimately result in further growth and expansion for our business.”
Mazen Laham, Managing Director and Founder of Different Productions remarked that joining Rise “will connect our talent with the right platforms” while helping them tap “into the core business function support that Rise offers”.
Bassel Khair, Executive Manager of Watan Network added: “We are very excited to join the Rise Studios family; we have built our core business around digital content consumption and see this relationship as a natural progression. We understand how important it is to viewers to consume content across all screens and are keen to grow Watan Network further with the addition of new content verticals and Originals for platforms like YouTube, Facebook, Snap and TikTok.”
Omar Hussein, Founder of Black Typhoon, noted: “As the Saudi film industry undergoes rapid growth, it is imperative that we create hyper-local content and tell stories from the rich heritage and traditions of the Kingdom. Looking forward to this partnership and how we can tell the best of stories to an audience eagerly waiting for premium quality content”.