EXCLUSIVE: Kuwaiti filmmaker Walid Al Awadi’s C Sky Pictures has signed a three-year development deal with twofour54 Abu Dhabi to develop and produce a slate of Arabic film and TV projects.

Twofour54 will contribute seed money and other forms of support to the slate, although the venture, called C Sky Abu Dhabi, is also open to outside financing and distribution partners. The projects will be Middle Eastern-themed with international potential.

The first project under the deal is feature film Tora Bora about a a family’s quest to find their son who has run away to Afghanistan to join Al Qaeda. Directed by Walid Al Awadi and starring Saad Al Faraj and Asmahan Tawfiq, the project was filmed as both a feature and TV series in the Gulf, Morocco and Europe. The feature will screen in the Cannes market on May 18.

Founded in Kuwait and Abu Dhabi in 2008, C Sky aims to introduce international script-writing and technical standards to Middle Eastern production. Al Awadi has worked in both the US and Middle East and his credits as director include documentary Dreams Without Sleep.

Al Awadi said he hopes to produce around three features and a number of TV series under the deal. “This is a very exciting agreement which will add significantly to the amount of high-quality, locally-produced content for the Middle East and North Africa markets.”

Wayne Borg, deputy CEO of twofour54, said: “Productions like Tora Bora add to our efforts to position Abu Dhabi as a regional centre for Arabic content and to highlight the regional opportunities that exist for international media companies.”