Former Universal Pictures executive Paul Chesney has announced the creation of Red Palm Pictures, a Riyadh-based production company.
The announcement came on the eve of Saudi Arabia’s third Red Sea International Film Festival.
Chesney is CEO of the privately-owned production company. Red Palm Pictures will develop and produce original feature film, TV and documentary work for theatrical and streaming in MENA and around the world.
Saudi writer and director Twafik Alzaidi, whose debut film Norah premiers at the Red Sea International Festival, has entered into a four-picture development deal. Norah was filmed in the city of AlUla during the summer of 2022.
Chesney is also CEO of the newly launched sister distribution company TwentyOne Entertainment.
The first of Azaidi's multi-picture deal is an action and adventure drama titled Thuraya, currently in development and scheduled to start filming in late 2024. This is Azaidi's second feature, and he will write and direct.
“There is a new wave of filmmaking in Saudi Arabia right now and remarkable undiscovered talent, both behind and in front of the camera,” said Chesney.
“Our goal is to be at the forefront of this growth and transformation and to nurture those filmmakers and give them local stories from within the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, as well as international co-productions.”