Saudi Thriller ‘Route 10’ Sells to Distributor Front Row for Wide Regional Release

Dubai-based distributor Front Row Filmed Entertainment has acquired all rights to upcoming high-octane Saudi thriller “Route 10,” starring rising local stars Fatima Al Banawi (“Al Shak”) and Baraa Alem (“The Book of Sun”).

A wide pan-regional release has been planned for July 28 via Front Row Arabia, the company’s joint-venture with leading Saudi exhibitor Muvi Cinemas.

Directed by Lebanon’s Omar Naim, best known for sci-fi drama “The Final Cut,” which starred Robin Williams and Mira Sorvino, “Route 10” is about two siblings named Maryam and Nasser who set out on a road trip through the desert from Riyadh to Abu Dhabi to attend their father’s wedding. In the desert, they are chased by an angry stranger in what turns out to be a frantic fight for their lives.

Fatima Al Banawi, who plays Maryam, is a Saudi multi-hyphenate whose first acting role in Mahmoud Sabbagh’s groundbreaking 2016 comedy Barakah Meets Barakah” put her in the international spotlight. She subsequently co-directed, and starred in, the TV series “Al-Shak” on broadcaster MBC, and landed a role in Netflix’s first Arabic Original show, “Paranormal.”

Baraa Alem is a Saudi YouTuber who made a splash in megahit “The Book of Sun” directed by Saudi directorial duo Faris and Suhaib Godus, a pic about guerrilla filmmaking that’s the first Saudi film ever to clock more than 100,000 local admissions.

“Route 10” is produced by Image Nation Abu Dhabi and Saudi-owned MBC Studios.

Front Row CEO Gianluca Chakra in a statement underlined his “strong belief in the potential of Saudi talent” and called “Route 10” “a tense, incredibly entertaining film and a very unique proposition to the Saudi market.”

“We’re very happy to have teamed up with two pillars of the Arab film industry, Image Nation Abu Dhabi and MBC Studios, and we believe that this is a first step in a long-term partnership that will ensure the proper release and promotion of Saudi and Arab films in the region,” he added.

The deal was negotiated by Chakra and Eli Touma from Front Row, Ben Ross from Image Nation and Stewart Till from MBC Studios.

Front Row recently reached global audiences with the Arabic-language remake of Italian dramedy “Perfect Strangers,” which is the first Arabic language Netflix original, and subsequently struck a first look deal with the streaming giant on all their feature film productions.

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