French national and former senior Disney executive, Nicolas Torloting, has joined Dubai-based distributor Front Row Filmed Entertainment as its chief operating officer.
Torloting will take over running all day-to-day operations at Front Row while president Hisham AlGhanim and CEO Gianluca Chakra will continue to oversee all local and international acquisitions.
Torloting served over 15 years at The Walt Disney Company occupying key roles in finance, business development and strategy before taking on the senior manager role for licensed territories where he oversaw Disney’s partners for the MENA region, Greece, Israel and Turkey.
He said his part of his focus for growth in the region will be in Saudi Arabia, which last year lifted a decades-old ban on cinemas.
In 2012, he moved to the Saudi entity Disney Jawa Enterprise, a joint venture between The Walt Disney Company and the Saudi Jawa family.
“With the opening of the Saudi market into the theatrical world and the quick and continuous market shifts, I believe that the MENA theatrical, TV and VOD markets will expand strongly in the upcoming years. Front Row, with its innovative culture will play a key role in taking the lead in this evolution,” he said.
His appointment is the latest made by Front Row which has been going through a major recruitment drive including Micallar Walker-Smith and Eli Touma.
Torloting said: “I’ve known Gianluca and Hisham for over 15 years and saw their growth throughout, building an impressive set up making Front Row the most innovative and successful film distribution company in the Middle East.
"They’ve pioneered the VOD phenomenon, the aggregation deals with Apple and Google and worldwide sales to global platforms of local language products."
Chakra added: “Nicolas’ experience and wealth of knowledge especially in markets like Saudi will be key in expanding into that territory. We have already started acquiring IPs for local remakes, be it for television or feature films.
"Three projects are currently in development stage including the Arabic language remake of the Italian smash hit Perfect Strangers as well as a high concept international feature film which will be announced later on this year.”
AlGhanim said: “We’ve financed a slate of high profile local language titles most of which will be released theatrically throughout 2019. We’ll keep on fortifying our relationships with regional players.
"Our roadmap is clear, Nicolas will focus on enhancing Front Row’s organization in order to keep leading the market changes whilst Gianluca and myself will expand the local production projects and develop an ambitious acquisition plan of international and Arabic language content.”For all the latest business news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
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