Dubai-based MENA film distributor Front Row Filmed Entertainment has appointed Nicolas Torloting as its Chief Operating Officer (COO). Torloting, who served for almost two decades with various Disney companies as part of previous roles, will take over the running of Front Row’s day-to-day operations. President Hisham AlGhanim and CEO Gianluca Chakra will continue to oversee all local and international acquisitions.
Torloting worked for more than 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 licensed partners for the entire MENA region, Greece, Israel and Turkey. In 1999, he moved to MENA joining Saudi entity Disney Jawa Enterprise, a joint venture between The Walt Disney Company and the Saudi Jawa family., and the first international entertainment company in MENA. Torloting served there as Managing Director of Entertainment, running offices in Saudi Arabia, UAE and the rest of the Middle East. In 2012 he joined Vanity Fair Brands (VFP), a Fruit of the Loom company, where he served as CEO effectively restructuring the company and selling it to French investment firm Perceva.
Speaking about this appointment, 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. 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.”
Chakra said: “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 seconded that, adding: “We’ll keep on fortifying our relationships with regional players. In view of the launch of multiple global platforms, our aim is to focus on developing Arabic feature films and TV series, which will resonate both locally and internationally. Our roadmap is clear, Nicolas will focus on enhancing Front Row’s organisation 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.”
Front Row has also made a number of other key appointments recently with ex-Picturehouse executive Micallar Walker-Smith joining the film distribution company as Marketing and PR Manager. Eli Touma, who previously headed the Digital & Publicity divisions for Sony Pictures and 20th Century Fox distributor Empire International as well as its Independent Film Acquisitions division, also recently joined Front Row as Marketing and Acquisitions Director.