Press releases

The Message

AFTER 40 YEARS, THE MESSAGE, MOUSTAPHA AKKAD’S CRITCALLY ACCLAIMED HISTORICAL EPIC FINALLY REACHES ARAB CINEMAS IN FULL 4K DIGITAL RESTORATION AT THE DUBAI FILM FESTIVAL DUBAI, December 6, 2017

TRANCAS INTERNATIONAL and FRONT ROW FILMED ENTERTAINMENT have inked a deal to release the fully restored 4k edition of the film to initially premiere at the Dubai Film Festival on Wednesday, December 13 and are aiming for a wide theatrical release in the region during Eid-Al-Fitr 2018.

THE MESSAGE joins the list of groundbreaking classics to receive 4K restoration treatment such as LAWRENCE OF ARABIA and DOCTOR ZHIVAGO. The epic historical drama by visionary producer/director Moustapha Akkad chronicles the life and times of Prophet Muhammad and serves as an introduction to early Islamic history. The pan Moroccan and Libyan production was shot over the course of one year enlisting an international cast with two-time Academy Award winner Anthony Quinn in the starring role. The restored version of THE MESSAGE will capture the detail of the original print as never seen before.

The film has a storied production as it was initially banned in Arab territories, encountering opposition from authorities and forcing the crew to move to Morocco and recreate model cities of Mecca and Medina for the shoot. During its release it also faced heavy backlash and theatrical banning in most Mideast territories. In the US, the film’s theatrical release was suspended after an extremist group staged a siege in the capital city of Washington D.C. after it was mistakenly believed that Anthony Quinn played the role of Prophet Mohammed on film.

THE MESSAGE has been officially selected for the 14th edition of the Dubai International Film Festival. This will be the first presentation of the 4K digitally restored print; a pre-cursor to the momentous Eid-Al-Fitr wide release in 2018. The screening will take place on Wednesday 13 December, 8:00 pm at the VOX IMAX screen in the Mall of the Emirates. A featurette of the films’ restoration process will be playing before the screening. It can be found here.  [SA1] Attending the screening will be Malek Akkad, son of late producer and director Moustapha Akkad. Malek is currently producing the Halloween remake with Miramax and Blumhouse.  The film’s cast will be reunited after 40 years for the occasion, including Star Wars cult icon Garrick Hagon, Damien Thomas, Mounir Maasri, George Camiller, and Kuwaiti associate producer Mohammed Sanoussi. There will be an informal Q&A with the audience following the screening.

TRANCAS and FRONT ROW will be releasing a brand new trailer for THE MESSAGE in the coming months prior to its official theatrical release during Eid-Al-Fitr 2018, marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan. THE MESSAGE as a testament to a people and their faith is deservedly held in the same esteem as Ben Hur or The Ten Commandments. FRONT ROW in collaboration with TRANCAS will be handling international sales on the film. “With SVOD platforms on the rise, this important film that is traditional viewing for billions of Muslim families during Eid can finally be accessed in every home” commented Gianluca Chakra, head of Front Row. TRANCAS’ Malek Akkad added: “The Message’s edicts of peace and understanding are extremely prevalent to our times. It is a tribute to my late father. It’s his legacy.  I want a new generation of viewers, both Arab and international, to experience his greatest achievement once again. This film is a turning point. It’s a perfect time to reintroduce Arab faith and culture to a worldwide audience.”

ABOUT FRONT ROW

Front Row Filmed Entertainment LLC is a leading independent film distribution company who acquires all rights for distribution in the Middle East and North Africa based in Dubai (UAE) and with offices in Kuwait and Lebanon. Front Row was launched in 2003 by Gianluca & Michel Chakra and currently boasts a film library of over 875 titles which include VOD and TV rights. The company is also partnered with the Kuwait National Cinema Company (KNCC) that represents a 97% market share in the Kuwaiti exhibition market. The territory of Kuwait currently represents 36% of the Middle East theatrical business. Front Row and KNCC acquire between 90‐120 titles a year and are absolute leaders in the Arabic language titles acquiring almost 70% of the Arabic language produced titles for the Middle East. In July 2014, Front Row signs an aggregation deal with iTunes become the sole aggregator to service Apple Inc. in the MENA Region. In October 2015, Front Row signs a 5 year PAY TV output deal with BeiN Media. Front Row’s upcoming releases include YOU WERE NEVER REALLY HERE, THE PROFESSOR AND THE MADMAN, THE OLD MAN AND THE GUN, JULIET NAKED, THE KILLING OF A SACRED DEER, A PRAYER BEFORE DAWN

Trancas International Films is a motion picture production and distribution company based primarily in Los Angeles, California, but operating worldwide.

In addition to numerous other films in its library, Trancas, along with its subsidiary, Compass International Pictures, has been involved with each film in the iconic Halloween franchise, and has production and distribution deals with companies including Miramax, Dimension Films, The Weinstein Company, and Anchor Bay Entertainment.