The company has planned to acquire and distribute Arabic and international content to cinemas and across traditional broadcast and streaming platforms within the MENA region.
Riyadh-based new acquisition and distribution company, TwentyOne Entertainment, has announced its official launch at the upcoming Red Sea International Film Festival, scheduled to take place in Jeddah from November 30 to December 9.
Leading the helm at TwentyOne Entertainment is Paul Chesney, who has been appointed as CEO. The company is privately owned by a Saudi investor and marks a significant addition to the regional film landscape. Paul Chesney, with a background as the former EVP of Global Operations at Universal Pictures, brings a wealth of experience from his roles at Disney, Warner Bros., and Arts Alliance Media, as well as various technology start-ups and new studio developments.
The first feature in TwentyOne Entertainment’s portfolio is Norah, a production from Saudi writer-director Tawfik Alzaidi. Norah is set to make its mark by participating in the main competition at the Red Sea Film Festival.
الإعلان الرسمي الأول لفيلم نورة
NORAH Official Trailer pic.twitter.com/XsdRjy46np
— Tawfik AlZaidi توفيق الزايدي (@Tawfikalzaidi) November 6, 2023
Set in Saudi Arabia in the 1990s, Norah is described as a moving narrative about the transformative power of art in inspiring and changing minds and hearts. Tawfik Alzaidi both penned and directed the film, making it the first Saudi Arabian feature entirely shot in the AlUla region of Saudi Arabia.
Rising actor Yaqoub Alfarhan, known for his role in Rashash, takes the lead as a newly qualified teacher assigned to a remote village, where he crosses paths with the character Norah, portrayed by the newcomer Maria Bahrawi. The seasoned Saudi actor Abdullah Alsadhan, renowned for Tash ma Tash, is also part of the cast.
Aligned with Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 initiative, TwentyOne Entertainment aims to acquire and distribute high-quality cinematic content, encompassing both Arabic and international productions, across cinemas and traditional broadcast and streaming platforms within the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Moreover, the company has plans to expand the reach of its Arabic content to international markets.
Speaking about the company, Paul Chesney said: “Our goal is to consistently deliver a high-quality cinematic entertainment experience and be an innovative leader in this fast-developing market. We look forward to building strong partnerships throughout the region and around the
Tawfik Alzaidi added: “One of my goals while making Norah was to make a high-quality, international standard film and to create a new identity for Saudi film, which will have a great impact on local and international audiences. I am excited to be collaborating with TwentyOne Entertainment to put my treasured first feature film out into the world.”