Uri Singer talks Red Sea, plans to shoot Low Orbit‘ In Saudi Arabia –

Saudi Arabia was the last place Israeli-born American producer Uri Singer thought he would go in his lifetime.

It was until a chance meeting white noise Red carpet in Venice with Mohammad Al-Turki, CEO of the country’s Red Sea International Film Festival.


The couple met in Toronto for lunch and coincidentally another red carpet at the BFI London Film Festival, where Al-Turki introduced the singer to the festival’s managing director Shivani Pandya.

“She was amazing. There are a few things that impressed me about Muhammed, her hiring and women’s championships, and the way she does PR. It’s not just about the money. “He’s very funny and charming and has a vision and a plan behind what he’s doing,” Singer said.

This third meeting will lead to Singer being invited to the second edition of the Red Sea, which runs from December 1-10.

He left for the opening night gala screening. What does love have to do with it?Jury president Oliver Stone mingled on the red carpet, along with guests Guy Ritchie, Sharon Stone, Bollywood megastar Shah Rukh Khan and popular Egyptian actress Yusra.


“I have not come here with any clue about Saudi Arabia. I have never been to Saudi Arabia. I didn’t think I could come even though I have a US passport so there was no problem there,” he said.

“I felt very welcome from the moment I disembarked. There were two female soldiers at passport control. It was a bit awkward for me, where I did, but after the formalities, one of them asked me. Asked, ‘Should I call you ‘Uri’ or ‘Uri’? So, he knew. My place of birth is written on my passport,” he continued. Didn’t feel anything but.

Sharing his first impressions, the singer highlighted the pace of change in the country and the role of women at the center of that change.

“Before you arrive, you have images in your mind of the way the country is portrayed. Here you see everyone from festival organizers to filmmakers to government officials. Women are taking over the business at the surface. Now is their time. The changes are happening so fast, it’s incredible to see,” she said. “I believe it’s still a male-dominated society. That’s been driven by men in the culture, but that’s changing.”


Assessing the fair and its market, Singer likens industry meeting rooms to “Canes on steroids.”

“It’s only the second year, but it feels like it’s been going on for ten years. The talent here, like Spike Lee, Luca Guadagnino, Guy Ritchie and Oliver Stone, and the selection of great world-class films, make Saudi a and provide a new platform as a production hub.

It’s an open secret in industry circles that many celebrities are charging huge fees to participate, but the singer says there’s nothing wrong with the approach.

“This is the beginning. You have to pay people to come here to see it because people have the wrong or different perception of Saudi Arabia and Jeddah and even the festival. Nobody believes it until now. He would give it until he saw it,” he says.

“I don’t see a problem with that. It’s a smart way to bring out talent because otherwise, they wouldn’t come. But I think once they come and see this amazing festival, people and change. And transmit what they saw, it will work. It’s a great investment.”


The singer also suggested that invitations to industry players and fees for celebrities were not just an attempt to buy their presence for the sake of it.

“They want to learn. They want to bring people into production to teach the locals how to be better and more professional. It’s very, very smart.”

In addition to catching up with old friend Andy Garcia, having lunch with Oliver Stone and watching the US Netherlands Qatar World Cup soccer match with Spike Lee, the singer used his time at the festival to learn about the country’s international producers. What does it offer? shot in the country.

“Before I came here, I had no intention of it. I didn’t know the potential here. I’ve had wonderful tax breaks and funds as well as other direct financing methods,” Singer said.

However, he warned that producers who come to Saudi Arabia thinking it’s some kind of magic money tree will be disappointed.


“Everybody comes here, thinking they’re going to write a check or give us 50% and it’s not. It’s still in its infancy. There are problems with production. Jordan and Egypt are still cheap. You need to bring in staff and there aren’t enough cameras. You have to pay extra to speed them up,” he said.

But coming here in Saudi Arabia opened my eyes. There is a willingness, warmth and openness to learn.”

Based on his experiences, the singer is now planning the shooting of his upcoming sci-fi drama. Low OrbitDirected and starring Nguyen-Anh Nguyen Titian Star Agathe Rouselle, in Saudi Arabia.

“I’m going to shoot it here because it’s the perfect place for it. The sand and the crazy buildings, the mountains and even the snow. It’s there so it’s not a big crew,” he said.

“Agathe knows I’m here. We might have an Arab, even a Saudi, actress because there are three people in the cast. We thought about Zoê Kravitz if we were to do it in the States.

Singer also found unexpected interest in his content curation platform Taleflick, where rights holders can upload books, screenplays, short stories, essays and graphic novels to show to entities looking for original IP. are

“There’s a huge thirst for good content,” he said. “I received tremendous interest from several large institutions that want to be a regional leader in IP and content.”

The singer is now on the verge of signing a deal that will license Taleflick for the region and make it available in Arabic.

“The Saudis are interested in being a leader in this, and it looks like they will have high quality and original content that is local and suitable for Hollywood,” he said.

“It was an opportunity I didn’t expect, but after being here, it’s like a glove finding its hand.”

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