Front Row Filmed Entertainment | UAE
Chakra launched Front Row in Dubai in 2003, acquiring foreign-­language films and documentaries to distribute. The first films he acquired were the Brazilian CITY OF GOD and Lars von Trier’s DOGVILLE. Now, Front Row acquires roughly 120 titles a year of Arab and international films, a third of which are released in theaters. To expand in the GCC, it partnered with muvi Cinemas in KSA and KNCC in Kuwait. Front Row introduced its first film production, the Arabic remake of the 2016 Italian PERFECT STRANGERS, which Netflix picked as its first Arabic original feature.

Following their record-breaking release of SATTAR, which became the most successful Saudi film of all time, Front Row Arabia reunited with Saudi studio Telfaz11 to distribute MANDOOB, which recorded the highest opening for a local title in Saudi Arabia. Front Row plans to shoot two films in 2024: A Gomorrah-type feature about a queen-pin in Jordan based on a true story and an Egyptian remake of the French buddy comedy-drama LES INTOUCHABLES.

Founder and Managing Partner of FRE
What's the best advice you have ever been given - or given to others?
Be yourself. Do not try to impress, and always be SMARTLY passionate.

What has been your biggest setback/hurdle?
a. Dealing with conformists (the MENA industry is filled with those), people who lack vision and are there only to save their job/position.
b. Corruption within the industry.
c. Innovation isn’t seen as a plus but a risk… but we’re sure this will change, and we'll make sure we’re at the forefront of this.
d. Finding good writers who do not auto-censor themselves.

What is the biggest misunderstanding about the Arab World and/or its entertainment industry?
That the locals don’t travel… and for the most part they are right with the exception of a very few… but this will change.

What will have the greatest game-changing effect on Arab cinema?
Global streamers. They are the only ones that ensure real viewership and could create demand, provided that the content is broad and naturally good.

How do you recognize real talent?
From their vision. They either get it or they don’t.