Book-to-screen content curation platform TaleFlick launches in Arabic
Source: Arab News
DUBAI: TaleFlick, a content curation company specializing in book-to-screen adaptations, has launched its platform in Arabic in a bid to connect local storytellers with international as well as regional producers and studios.
Launched in 2018 by film producer Uri Singer and former Apple and Netflix executive George Berry, TaleFlick aims to provide a platform for untold stories to reach the right producer or studio.
Singer was recommended the book “The King of Oil” by Swiss investigative journalist Daniel Ammann in 2018, and thought it was an amazing story that deserved to be told through a movie.
Singer told Arab News: “There are so many good stories around the world that are not being told or cannot reach people like me, or studios. (I thought) I should open a platform for that.”
Authors and rights owners submit their stories, which are analyzed by an algorithm, and selected manuscripts are further assessed for their adaptation potential by professional readers.
Studios and producers, which are verified by TaleFlick, can search the platform for content by theme or by location.
The platform also holds competitions from time to time. Its most recent contest, for example, will see the company choose stories to develop under its production arm TaleFlick Productions.
Publishers like HarperCollins have committed their catalog to the site, and studios such as Sony Pictures, Warner Media and HBO have signed up as customers.
The rise of streamers and the increase in content consumption go hand-in-hand.
Turkiye, Israel and Saudi Arabia will be the Middle East region’s strongest markets, together accounting for 55 percent of the region’s SVOD (subscription video-on-demand) revenues by 2028, according to a report by Digital TV Research.
The 13 Arabic-speaking countries in the region are expected to generate $2.47 billion in 2028 — up from $1.28 billion in 2022.
People are watching more now than ever before, thanks to the wide library of content and easy accessibility offered by streaming services.
Streamers in turn are investing in growing their repertoire of content — both licensed and original — to keep audiences engaged.
This growth had resulted in a demand for unique and authentic stories from around the world, said Singer.
He added: “Streamers and broadcasters have found out that there is an audience that really appreciates content regardless of where it comes from if it’s good and interesting.”
A prime example of this is the success of shows such as “Masameer County” and “AlRawabi School for Girls” on Netflix, as well as Saudi-backed films like “Jeanne du Barry,” “Four Daughters,” and “Goodbye Julia” making their mark at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.
More recently, “Sattar,” a Saudi comedy film, broke box office records, earning $2.2 million over its first 12 days, making it the highest-grossing Saudi movie, outperforming blockbuster “Avatar” by more than 40 percent in terms of admissions, according to media reports.
Local markets know their audience and can make successful local films, surpassing even Hollywood films, which was always the case in countries like France and Spain, said Singer.
Recently, however, local content like “La Casa de Papel” from Spain, or K-dramas have “gone viral” and caught the global audience’s attention, and this is “where we’re going,” he added.
Singer visited Saudi Arabia last year to attend the Red Sea Film Festival and was amazed. He was aware of Vision 2030 and the Kingdom’s financial power and investments.
He added: “I saw the real eagerness to learn, listen and invite people … that’s a very correct thing to do.”
While the Kingdom is making strides, particularly with its various funds, shooting in Saudi is still expensive because of the lack of crew, and the “few professional crews that are working there are taken to the highest bidder,” he said.
That is why Singer is working with film studios to bring below-the-line talent from Saudi to the US as part of an apprenticeship program to “learn the culture of moviemaking,” he said.
Singer, who has worked in various countries, said the American culture of moviemaking is the “best.”
He added: “There’s a lot to learn on set in the US, and that’s what I think is missing; the Saudis are doing everything else successfully.”
Still, with just a five-year-old industry, Saudi Arabia had already made its presence felt on the global film circuit. Stories from other countries in the Middle East are also reaching and appealing to audiences around the world.
While TaleFlick supports other languages, like Hindi and Spanish, it has not invested heavily in them and mainly relies on Google Translate.
Singer said it had made significant investments in its Arabic platform because “the Middle East is so eager, young, and untapped.”
He is acutely aware of the cultural and linguistic differences, even within the region.
He said: “We detect those differences, and we source them (stories) to the right partner.”
The company also has a multilingual team of translators and screenwriters from different countries in the Middle East who not only review the scripts but also understand the cultural nuances and then suggest it to the right partner, Singer added.
Users can sign up to TaleFlick by choosing either basic ($99), standard ($199) or premium ($499).