Kidnap thriller “Fourth Wall” and romance story “Chasing Red” are the first two titles to be shot at Saudi Arabia’s Film AlUla as part of its partnership with Hollywood indie Stampede Ventures.
The film entity, which is looking to attract international productions to a spectacular swathe of northwest Saudi, recently announced its partnership with Stampede Ventures that will bring 10 productions to the region over the next three years with a projected $350 million spend.
Stampede is headed by U.S. industry veteran Greg Silverman, former president of creative development and physical production at Warner Bros. Silverman launched Stampede Ventures in 2018.
Stampede Ventures and Wattpad Webtoon Studios teamed up on “Chasing Red,” which is a popular web novel by Isabelle Ronin centered around a straight-A student named Veronica and rich playboy called Caleb. Silverman will serve as lead producer on “Chasing Red” with Berg while Yu, Bosco, Tadross and Torre will be the film’s executive producers. Casting is underway.
In “Fourth Wall” a young woman who is a former child star from a popular TV sitcom is kidnapped and wakes up in a complete recreation of the show’s set with the rest of the cast. “The plot follows her journey as she works through her trauma and recreates the series’ most iconic moments to stay alive and find a way out,” according to the provided synopsis. The film’s cast and director have not yet been announced.
Silverman is a producer on “Fourth Wall” alongside Jon Berg, with Gideon Yu, Chris Bosco, Mike Tadross and Grant Torre serving as executive producers.
Production officials from Film AlUla and Stampede recently scouted locations for both films in the AlUla County, in northwest Saudi, a sprawling area of desert and giant boulders that boasts an ancient city and is now equipped with a state-of-the-art studio.
The two movies will be among the first to be filmed in 2024 at Film AlUla’s full-service state-of-the-art production facility that includes a 30,000 square foot soundstage, backlot, production support buildings, workshops, warehouses, a recording studio and a training and rehearsal space.
The announcement was made at the Red Sea International Film Festival running Nov. 30-Dec. 9 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, at which Film AlUla is a strategic partner.
“These two productions will create economic and creative opportunities for the people of AlUla,” said Film AlUla executive director Charlene Deleon-Jones in a statement. “Film AlUla is committed to diversifying the economy and nurturing home-grown talent in collaboration with valued partners such as Stampede Ventures,” she added, going on to note that “this opportunity will generate a wide array of training and employment prospects for local residents by introducing experts to oversee mentoring programs.”
Commented Silverman, who is Stampede Studios’ CEO: “Stampede’s mission to connect people through their favorite stories is moved forward dramatically by the commitment to Film AlUla, connecting the audiences who will see these films, while also connecting the established filmmakers from all over the world who will be collaborating with the burgeoning filmmakers in The Kingdom. We are very grateful for the opportunity.”
Stampede’s recent projects include the film “Space Cadet” with Emma Roberts, Lionsgate’s drama “Ordinary Angels” with Hilary Swank and Australian gold rush comedy “Gold Diggers.”
Hollywood productions shot in AlUla to date include Gerard Butler action-thriller “Kandahar,” directed by Ric Roman Waugh, and “Cherry,” starring Tom Holland and directed by Anthony and Joe Russo.