Los Angeles, May 16, 2017: Image Nation Abu Dhabi, one of the leading media and entertainment companies in the Arabic-speaking world, has signed a three-year production pact with veteran producers Roy Lee and Steven Schneider to produce a slate of high-concept, modestly-budgeted dark genre films.
Details concerning initial projects are being kept under wraps, but are said to have international appeal and franchise potential. The plan is to make at least one film per year over the next three years, which Image Nation will fully finance.
The deal reunites Schneider with Image Nation after their recent collaboration on Ali F. Mostafa’s dystopian thriller, THE WORTHY, set for worldwide release this month by Netflix. Schneider produced THE WORTHY along with Peter Safran and Rami Yasin.
Lee and Schneider each have a long and successful track record in the dark genre business, having helped launch such hit franchises as THE RING, PARANORMAL ACTIVITY, INSIDIOUS and THE GRUDGE. Together they will draw on their considerable relationships with many of the biggest and most exciting names in the space, including filmmakers, international producers, intellectual property rightsholders and other content providers.
Image Nation has also produced some of the region’s most successful genre pictures, including DJINN, Majid Al Ansari’s debut feature RATTLE THE CAGE (ZINZANA) and the previously mentioned THE WORTHY, the first acquisition in the United Arab Emirates by Netflix.
A former film critic and author of numerous books on horror and world cinema, Schneider has become one of the go-to experts in genre films. Following the record-breaking success of 2009’s PARANORMAL ACTIVITY, a movie he found and helped usher to the screen, Schneider quickly amassed an impressive slate of projects with top filmmakers at the helm, including James Wan’s INSIDIOUS, William Brent Bell’s THE DEVIL INSIDE, Barry Levinson’s THE BAY, Rob Zombie’s THE LORDS OF SALEM and M. Night Shyamalan’s THE VISIT. He most recently executive produced Shyamalan’s hit thriller SPLIT and has INSIDIOUS: CHAPTER 4 releasing in January 2018.
Lee first put his company Vertigo Entertainment on the map in the early 2000s by producing remakes of Asian horror films like THE RING and THE GRUDGE. With both films initiating lucrative franchises, he went on to produce such genre hits as DARK WATER, THE STRANGERS, QUARANTINE, THE WOMAN IN BLACK, POLTERGEIST and THE BOY. In addition to his work in the genre space, Lee is also a producer of THE LEGO MOVIE and HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON franchises and was a producer on the Academy Award®-winning Martin Scorsese film THE DEPARTED. Lee continues to be an expert purveyor of underlying rights to intellectual properties and has the highly-anticipated remake of the classic Stephen King novel IT coming out this fall from Warner Bros.
“I first worked with the team at Image Nation Abu Dhabi on THE WORTHY, and found it to be a very gratifying experience,” said Schneider. “They are incredibly supportive of the filmmaker’s vision and a great producing partner. I look forward to expanding my relationship with them.”
“I am impressed with the way Image Nation has approached the genre space,” said Lee. “Steven and I are excited to work with them in creating globally appealing movies and franchises and pushing the bounds of the genre.”
“Steven Schneider and Roy Lee are very well-respected producers in Hollywood with an enviable track record in both the United States and internationally, having produced such record-breaking hits as this year’s SPLIT, PARANORMAL ACTIVITY, THE GRUDGE and the upcoming IT,” said Ben Ross, Head of Narrative Film and Television, Image Nation Abu Dhabi. “We are pleased to be able to partner with two producers of this caliber under this exciting new deal, which will allow us to broaden our international production slate to create more dark genre titles with great potential for lucrative franchises.”
Michael Garin, CEO of Image Nation Abu Dhabi added: “This exciting deal not only strengthens our robust international slate, it also enables us to support the regional film industry. Image Nation’s international projects have helped subsidize and build our local industry here in Abu Dhabi and the region, while creating opportunities for our local talent to work on large scale international productions.”
Image Nation Abu Dhabi also has existing relationships with longtime partners Ashok Amritraj and his Hyde Park Entertainment shingle, and Walter Parkes and Laurie MacDonald and their Parkes + MacDonald banner. Late last year, Image Nation Abu Dhabi created an international film fund through a strategic partnership with China Intercontinental Communication Center.
Image Nation has been ramping up its film and TV production output over the last year, and currently has a number of new titles in the pipeline. Upcoming projects include BENJI, a modern-day retelling of the original produced by Blumhouse Productions and directed by Brandon Camp, and the horror-thriller PREY, produced by Blumhouse and Amritraj‘s Hyde Park Entertainment. Image Nation is also producing the narrative television series JUSTICE, a legal drama created by Oscar®-nominee Parkes (HE NAMED ME MALALA, FLIGHT) and Emmy Award®-winning producer Billy Finkelstein (L.A. LAW, NYPD BLUE).
The deal was brokered by Stuart Manashil on behalf of Lee and Schneider, and by Ross and Derek Dauchy for Image Nation.