Former Warner Bros. Discovery and OSN executives join forces to create new content studio serving the Middle East and North Africa. diversity can reveal.
Rise Studios is founded by industry veterans Emad Morcos, former OSN Chief Content and Commercial Officer; Amanda Turnbull, former general manager at Warner Bros. Discovery, Middle East, Africa and Turkey; and Amel Farag, former Head of Content Commercial Strategy at OSN.
Rise will invest in local content and talent to launch domestic film and TV productions on regional and global broadcasters and streaming platforms.
“We’re really committed to the region,” says Turnbull diversity. “It’s changing so fast: cinema is having a renaissance in the region and all the streamers are piling up too. There is increasing opportunity and complexity across the landscape and fantastic ideas that we want to capitalize on.”
The outfit, which wants to build up a network of local producers, starts on Wednesday with five production partners. Outfits are brought into Rise’s “studio umbrella” through individual cash and equity deals. (Rise invests cash in any company that raises capital in the broader Rise Studios banner.)
Initial production partners include: Egyptian script series and film producer Partner Pro; advertising agency ASAP led by Amin El Masri and film director Sherif Arafa; Lebanon and UAE-based factual reality specialists Different Productions, led by Mazen Laham; Multi-channel venture Watan Network overseen by Bassel Khair; and Black Typhoon, directed by Omar Hussein, which is funded for 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 the Netflix show. Meanwhile, Different Productions will launch “Dubai Bling” on Netflix on October 27th, with previous credits including “Chopped” for DubaiTV and “Say Yes to the Dress” with Discovery and Starzplay Arabia.
“There are opportunities for synergy to improve what they do,” explained Turnbull, who says the broader studio will be able to leverage in script sourcing and talent scouting, as well as commercial support Discussions on investing law and sales.
The company is also making significant investments in research in the MENA region. Instead of continuing to rely on research companies like Parrot Analytics and Omdia, Rise Studios is “investing in our own research,” Turnbull explains. Working with a Singapore-based company, the company will collect data and map strengths in order to assign a list to its target audience.
Rise Studios is backed by Great Mountain Partners, a global media and entertainment investor with previous investments in Concord, Confluential Films, AiMi and A24.
Alex Thomson, Founder of Great Mountain Partners, said: “We see great potential in content and talent from across the Middle East and are excited to invest in Rise Studios, led by exceptional industry experts, to further enable industry regionally and globally upgrade stage.”
Emad Morcos, Chairman of Rise Studios, added, “We believe stories can be told differently and are committed to rich regional narratives that resonate locally and spread globally to leave a lasting impression. Through collective commercial expertise and data intelligence, we localize the right content for the right platforms, discovering, supporting and giving regional talent the recognition they deserve.”
(Pictured, LR: Emad Morcos, Amanda Turnbull, Amel Farag)
https://variety.com/2022/tv/global/rise-studios-middle-east-north-africa-1235401026/ Warner Bros. Discovery, OSN executives establish Rise Studios in the Middle East