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Netflix Unveils Upcoming Arab Films & Series Including Telfaz11 Feature ‘Alkhallat’, Docu-Soap ‘Dubai Bling’

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Netflix has previewed a selection of upcoming films and shows aimed at the Arab world and hailing from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE, Egypt, and Jordan.

The global platform has been steadily making inroads into the Middle East and North Africa since 2015, in the face of fierce competition from local players such as MBC’s Shahid VIP and Starzplay.

The slate announcement comes just one month after a group of Gulf states threatened Netflix with legal action if the platform did not remove content they deemed as contradicting Islamic values.

Netflix has not commented on the Gulf threats and appears undeterred in its push into the region and content aimed at the Arab world.

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“Netflix will continue to expand its investment in the region, bringing authentic stories and talent from the Arab world to the forefront of the global entertainment industry,” the platform said.

The new productions slated, mainly due to launch in 2023, include Saudi Arabian feature Alkhallat+, a satirical suspense film based on the hit online show Alkhallat, which was first released in 2017 and received more than 1.5 billion views across YouTube and social media.

The feature is one of the first productions to come down the pipeline under an eight-picture deal with burgeoning Saudi Arabian studio Telfaz11, signed in November 2020.

“The film will feature four exciting comeback stories of social deception and trickery in four unlikely places, bringing the best of this beloved Saudi show to life,” said Netflix.

Fahad Alammari directs an ensemble cast featuring stand-up comedian Fahad Albutairi, actors Suhaib Godus and Ismail Alhassan, best known for their performances in The Sun of Gnosis; and influencer and actor Ziyad Alamri.

Netflix also announced a second Telfaz11 feature, The Matchmaker by director Abdulmohsen Aldhabaan, whose debut film Last Visit (2019) played at Karlovy Vary and Marrakech.

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Billed as a psychological thriller film with a supernatural slant, the film is set in against the backdrop of the rocky desert landscape of world heritage site of AlUla. The cast features Hussam Alharthy, Reem AlHabib, Nour Alkhadra.

The slate also featured the eight-episode Arabic docu-soap Dubai Bling, which launches globally on October 27.

The show follows the lives of 10 self-made wealthy individuals in Dubai including Australian radio presenter Kris Fade and his wife Brianna Ramirez, Saudi TV host and actress Lojain Omran as well as Emirati DJ Marwan Al Awady and his wife Danya Mohammed.

Netflix also unveiled one of its first Kuwaiti productions The Exchange. Set in Kuwait in 1988, the drama revolves around two women making their way in the boys club of the Kuwait Stock Exchange, on the eve of Saddam Hussein’s invasion of the country.

The drama was conceived and written by celebrity TV presenter, actress and activist Nadia Ahmad, with Anne and Adam Sobel, and is directed by Egyptian director Karim Elshenawy and Kuwaiti filmmaker Jasem AlMuhanna.

The cast includes popular local actors Rawan Mahdi, Mona Hussain, Hussain alMahdi, Mohamed Mansour, Faisal alAmiri, Jasem alNabhan, Maryam Salih, Asmahan Tawfiq and Abdullah Bahman.

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The slate also features the second season of animated Masameer County, a youth-focused show chronicling the rapidly changing face of Saudi Arabia and tackling formerly taboo subjects with humor.

It is the first production to come out of a five-year exclusive deal between Saudi animation studio Myrkott and Netflix.

These new shows follow in the wake of Saudi director Hana Al Omair’s psychological thriller Whispers, Jordanian high-school drama Al Rawabi School for Girls, and Finding Ola, starring Tunisian-Egyptian star Hend Sabry as a newly divorced single mother as she embarks on a voyage of personal discovery.

Non-fictions hits in the region have included Arabic unscripted reality show The Fastest, and archaeological documentary, Secrets Of The Saqqara Tomb which was viewed by 22 million households in its first week of launch



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Netflix & Paramount+ To Profile ‘Strip Search Caller’ ; TVOKids Spotlights Down Syndrome With Toon Series; ‘One Piece Film Red’ London Takeover — Global Briefs

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Netflix & Paramount+ UK To Profile ‘Strip Search Caller’

Netflix and Paramount+ have struck a first of its kind-of-deal over a true crime documentary telling the story of the strip search caller in the U.S. Paramount+ has taken UK rights to Pervert: The Hunt for the Strip Search Caller and Netflix has rest of world on the doc, which it will be calling Don’t Pick Up the Phone. The deal is believed to be the first time two streamers have worked in such a way in the UK and rest of world. The doc tells the shocking story of a hoax caller who targeted fast food restaurants across the U.S. – posing as a police officer investigating a theft, the caller instructed managers to strip-search the young female employees he said were suspects. For many victims, what began as a humiliating strip search escalated into sexual abuse.

Canada’s TVOKids Spotlights Down Syndrome In Animated Series ‘Griffin And Turner’

EXCLUSIVE: Ontario, Canada’s TVOkids and Big Jump Entertainment are working on 2D-animated series Griffin and Turner. Based on real Canadian brothers who a significant online following, the show follows the supportive pair as they, their friends and family undertake personal challenges but focus on the journey rather than winning. Turner has Down syndrome, and TVOKids executive producer Kirsten Hurd noted the series has been developed in consultation with the Down syndrome community. Producer Big Jump is behind shows such as Shutterbug and Big Words, Small Stories.

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London Gets ‘One Piece Film Red’ Takeover After Record Haul

To celebrate the record-breaking haul of One Piece Film Red in the UK, the Straw Hat Pirates are set for a takeover of iconic London locations on November 26. Via local distributor Anime Limited and Toei Animation, the cast and memorable scenes from the series will be projected onto the County Hall of London, opposite the London Eye as well as other key locations. One Piece Film: Red has grossed over £800,000 in the UK and Ireland since it released earlier this month, making it the biggest of the long-running franchise. A phenomenon in Japan, One Piece Film Red has grossed $162M to date worldwide 



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‘All Quiet On The Western Front’, ‘Belfast’ Top 2022 EFA Arts & Crafts Awards

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Edward Berger’s All Quiet On The Western Front and Kenneth Branagh’s Belfast top the European Film Academy’s Excellence Awards honoring achievement in the arts and crafts categories, the winners of which were announced on Wednesday.

Belfast won best European Production Design for Jim Clay, whose credits include Children Of Men, for which he won a Bafta in 2006, and Murder On The Orient Express.

The drama, set against the backdrop of the beginnings of “The Troubles” in Northern Ireland in 1969, also won best European Costume Design for Charlotte Walter (Blithe Spirit, Misbehaviour)

Netflix-backed German WWI drama All Quiet On The Western Front won best European Make-up & Hair for Heike Merker, and Best European Special Effects for Frank Petzold, Viktor Müller and Markus Frank.

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 In other categories, best European Cinematography was won by Kate McCullough for her work on Colm Bairéad’s Irish-language drama The Quiet Girl.

Best European Editing went to Özcan Vardar and Eytan İpeker for Turkish director Emin Alper’s drama Burning Days.

Polish composer Paweł Mykietyn won best European Original Score went for Jerzy Skolimowski’s EO.

Best European Sound went to Simone Paolo Olivero, Paolo Benvenuti, Benni Atria, Marco Saitta, Ansgar Frerich & Florian Holzner for Michelangelo Frammartino’s cave exploration drama The Hole.

The winners, which are decided by a special expert jury, will receive their awards at the European Film Awards ceremony on 10 December in Reykjavík.

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Jennifer Lopez’s Social Media Mysteriously Goes Dark

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EXCLUSIVE: The actress, producer and top-selling performing artist’s social media channels including Instagram, Facebook, Tik Tok and Twitter have suddenly gone dark in their featured/cover images.

Reps for Jennifer Lopez were unavailable for comment, but we hear from others that The Hustlers and Marry Me actress is on the verge of announcing a new project.

Here’s a look at her Instagram tonight:

While Lopez’s Instagram had erased all posts, a trail of her previous postings remained on Facebook, Tik Tok and Twitter. Across all four social media portals, Lopez counts close to 347M followers, the majority of that coming from her Instagram.

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Lopez’s Nuyorican Productions in June 2021 signed a multi-year first-look deal with Netflix spanning feature films, TV series and unscripted content, with an emphasis on projects that support diverse female actors, writers and filmmakers. Lopez co-runs Nuyorican Productions with her producing partner Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas.

Lopez scored her best opening for a live-action movie at the domestic box office with STX’s 2019 stripper caper Hustlers which debuted to $33.1 million, and grossed $105M stateside, $157.6M worldwide.  As a recording artist, Lopez has sold over 70 million albums, with J.Lo became her bestselling album with 3.8M copies sold in the U.S. and 12M global. Her Netflix thriller The Mother from director Niki Caro is set to debut in May. Her romantic comedy Shotgun Wedding with Josh Duhamel will hit Prime Video on Jan. 27.

On Facebook, one of her followers, Steffany Merino wrote, “What’s happened? Hope you and your wonderful family are ok. I’ll pray for your health and safety.”

Again, we hear something special is in the works in the next few days.



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