French National Nicolas Torloting has joined MENA distributor Front Row Filmed Entertainment as its COO. Torloting will take over running all day-to-day operations at Front Row. President Hisham AlGhanim and CEO Gianluca Chakra will continue to oversee all local and international acquisitions as the company plans to focus on developing Arabic feature films and TV Series.
Front Row has been going through major key hires including Micallar Walker-Smith who previously served as Head of Events at Picturehouse in the UK and just lately Eli Touma as Marketing and Acquisitions Director. Eli previously headed the Digital & Publicity divisions for Sony Pictures and 20th Century Fox distributor Empire International as well as the Independent Film Acquisitions division. Torloting brings many years of experience in the MENA region and international entertainment licensing at companies such as Disney.
Commenting on his new role 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."
He added: “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.”
Speaking on the company's roadmap ahead 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. Also, 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 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.”
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 licensed partners for the entire MENA region, Greece, Israel and Turkey.
In 1999, he moved to the MENA joining Saudi entity Disney Jawa Enterprise, a joint venture between The Walt Disney Company and the Saudi Jawa family. It was the first international entertainment company in the MENA region. Torloting was acting as its 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 prolific French investment firm Perceva.