Award-winning Egyptian actor Ahmed Helmy is among Tough Luck's all-star cast. Courtesy Front Row
Award-winning Egyptian actor Ahmed Helmy is among Tough Luck's all-star cast. Courtesy Front Row

Exclusive: Dubai-produced sitcom Tough Luck signs massive distribution deal



The Dubai co-produced sitcom, Tough Luck, which recently shot in Cairo, has been picked up for distribution in a host of global territories by streaming service iflix, which has also come on board as a co-producer alongside Dubai's Front Row, Kuwait National Cinema Company and Shadows Communications.

Iflix is a leading player in the streaming sector in a number of emerging markets, and has acquired the rights for Tough Luck for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), South East Asia (SEA), Sub Saharan Africa (SSA), Central America (CA), Asia Pacific (PAC) and Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and will be featuring the sitcom as an iflix original.

The iflix platform will launch in the MENA region at the end of April and will introduce the whole first season (30 episodes) of Tough Luck to subscribers during Ramadan, where family viewing is at its pinnacle.

The comedy stars a host of Arab names including Ahmad Sakka, Mona Zaki, Mai Kassab, Ahmad Fahmi, Shiko, Nicole Saba, Hisham Majed, Baoiomy Fouad, Hassan Al Radad and Ahmad Helmy as himself. Singing sensations such as Mohammed Fouad, Bousi, Hisham Abbas, Mustapha Qamar, and belly-dancing legend Fify Abdo will also appear.

According to Front Row’s Gianluca Chakra, the move represents a major victory for Video on Demand in the region, where traditional broadcasters have long monopolized Ramadan and Arab content.

Chakra adds: “A change is indeed needed in this part of the world and we are happy to be pioneering this with an SVOD service that is committed to challenging the norms of the industry to the benefit of the user. This is only the beginning of what’s to come.”

cnewbould@thenational.ae

Company profile

Company: Verity

Date started: May 2021

Founders: Kamal Al-Samarrai, Dina Shoman and Omar Al Sharif

Based: Dubai

Sector: FinTech

Size: four team members

Stage: Intially bootstrapped but recently closed its first pre-seed round of $800,000

Investors: Wamda, VentureSouq, Beyond Capital and regional angel investors

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Almouneer
Started: 2017
Founders: Dr Noha Khater and Rania Kadry
Based: Egypt
Number of staff: 120
Investment: Bootstrapped, with support from Insead and Egyptian government, seed round of
$3.6 million led by Global Ventures

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Klipit

Started: 2022

Founders: Venkat Reddy, Mohammed Al Bulooki, Bilal Merchant, Asif Ahmed, Ovais Merchant

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Digital receipts, finance, blockchain

Funding: $4 million

Investors: Privately/self-funded

UAE currency: the story behind the money in your pockets
'Gold'

Director:Anthony Hayes

Stars:Zaf Efron, Anthony Hayes

Rating:3/5

KEY DATES IN AMAZON'S HISTORY

July 5, 1994: Jeff Bezos founds Cadabra Inc, which would later be renamed to Amazon.com, because his lawyer misheard the name as 'cadaver'. In its earliest days, the bookstore operated out of a rented garage in Bellevue, Washington

July 16, 1995: Amazon formally opens as an online bookseller. Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought becomes the first item sold on Amazon

1997: Amazon goes public at $18 a share, which has grown about 1,000 per cent at present. Its highest closing price was $197.85 on June 27, 2024

1998: Amazon acquires IMDb, its first major acquisition. It also starts selling CDs and DVDs

2000: Amazon Marketplace opens, allowing people to sell items on the website

2002: Amazon forms what would become Amazon Web Services, opening the Amazon.com platform to all developers. The cloud unit would follow in 2006

2003: Amazon turns in an annual profit of $75 million, the first time it ended a year in the black

2005: Amazon Prime is introduced, its first-ever subscription service that offered US customers free two-day shipping for $79 a year

2006: Amazon Unbox is unveiled, the company's video service that would later morph into Amazon Instant Video and, ultimately, Amazon Video

2007: Amazon's first hardware product, the Kindle e-reader, is introduced; the Fire TV and Fire Phone would come in 2014. Grocery service Amazon Fresh is also started

2009: Amazon introduces Amazon Basics, its in-house label for a variety of products

2010: The foundations for Amazon Studios were laid. Its first original streaming content debuted in 2013

2011: The Amazon Appstore for Google's Android is launched. It is still unavailable on Apple's iOS

2014: The Amazon Echo is launched, a speaker that acts as a personal digital assistant powered by Alexa

2017: Amazon acquires Whole Foods for $13.7 billion, its biggest acquisition

2018: Amazon's market cap briefly crosses the $1 trillion mark, making it, at the time, only the third company to achieve that milestone

LIVERPOOL TOP SCORERS

(Premier League only)
Mohamed Salah 129
Robbie Fowler 128
Steven Gerrard 120
Michael Owen 118
Sadio Mane 90

School counsellors on mental well-being

Schools counsellors in Abu Dhabi have put a number of provisions in place to help support pupils returning to the classroom next week.

Many children will resume in-person lessons for the first time in 10 months and parents previously raised concerns about the long-term effects of distance learning.

Schools leaders and counsellors said extra support will be offered to anyone that needs it. Additionally, heads of years will be on hand to offer advice or coping mechanisms to ease any concerns.

“Anxiety this time round has really spiralled, more so than from the first lockdown at the beginning of the pandemic,” said Priya Mitchell, counsellor at The British School Al Khubairat in Abu Dhabi.

“Some have got used to being at home don’t want to go back, while others are desperate to get back.

“We have seen an increase in depressive symptoms, especially with older pupils, and self-harm is starting younger.

“It is worrying and has taught us how important it is that we prioritise mental well-being.”

Ms Mitchell said she was liaising more with heads of year so they can support and offer advice to pupils if the demand is there.

The school will also carry out mental well-being checks so they can pick up on any behavioural patterns and put interventions in place to help pupils.

At Raha International School, the well-being team has provided parents with assessment surveys to see how they can support students at home to transition back to school.

“They have created a Well-being Resource Bank that parents have access to on information on various domains of mental health for students and families,” a team member said.

“Our pastoral team have been working with students to help ease the transition and reduce anxiety that [pupils] may experience after some have been nearly a year off campus.

"Special secondary tutorial classes have also focused on preparing students for their return; going over new guidelines, expectations and daily schedules.”

The specs

Engine: 1.4-litre 4-cylinder turbo

Power: 180hp at 5,500rpm

Torque: 250Nm at 3,00rpm

Transmission: 5-speed sequential auto

Price: From Dh139,995

On sale: now

UAE FIXTURES

Wednesday 19 April – UAE v Kuwait
Friday 21 April – UAE v Hong Kong
Sunday 23 April – UAE v Singapore
Wednesday 26 April – UAE v Bahrain
Saturday 29 April – Semi-finals
Sunday 30 April – Third position match
Monday 1 May – Final

Company Profile

Company: Astra Tech
Started: March 2022
Based: Dubai
Founder: Abdallah Abu Sheikh
Industry: technology investment and development
Funding size: $500m

Company profile

Name: WonderTree
Started: April 2016
Co-founders: Muhammad Waqas and Muhammad Usman
Based: Karachi, Pakistan, Abu Dhabi, UAE, and Delaware, US
Sector: Special education, education technology, assistive technology, augmented reality
Number of staff: 16
Investment stage: Growth
Investors: Grants from the Lego Foundation, UAE's Anjal Z, Unicef, Pakistan's Ignite National Technology Fund

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Sav
Started: 2021
Founder: Purvi Munot
Based: Dubai
Industry: FinTech
Funding: $750,000 as of March 2023
Investors: Angel investors

Results

4pm: Al Bastakiya – Listed (TB) $150,000 (Dirt) 1,900m; Winner: Panadol, Mickael Barzalona (jockey), Salem bin Ghadayer (trainer)

4.35pm: Dubai City Of Gold – Group 2 (TB) $228,000 (Turf) 2,410m; Winner: Walton Street, William Buick, Charlie Appleby

5.10pm: Mahab Al Shimaal – Group 3 (TB) $228,000 (D) 1,200m; Winner: Canvassed, Pat Dobbs, Doug Watson

5.45pm: Burj Nahaar – Group 3 (TB) $228,000 (D) 1,600m; Winner: Midnight Sands, Pat Dobbs, Doug Watson

6.20pm: Jebel Hatta – Group 1 (TB) $260,000 (T) 1,800m; Winner: Lord Glitters, Daniel Tudhope, David O’Meara

6.55pm: Al Maktoum Challenge Round-1 – Group 1 (TB) $390,000 (D) 2,000m; Winner: Salute The Soldier, Adrie de Vries, Fawzi Nass

7.30pm: Nad Al Sheba – Group 3 (TB) $228,000 (T) 1,200m; Winner: Final Song, Frankie Dettori, Saeed bin Suroor

The specs: 2018 Jeep Compass

Price, base: Dh100,000 (estimate)

Engine: 2.4L four-cylinder

Transmission: Nine-speed automatic

Power: 184bhp at 6,400rpm

Torque: 237Nm at 3,900rpm

Fuel economy, combined: 9.4L / 100km

The specs

Powertrain: Single electric motor
Power: 201hp
Torque: 310Nm
Transmission: Single-speed auto
Battery: 53kWh lithium-ion battery pack (GS base model); 70kWh battery pack (GF)
Touring range: 350km (GS); 480km (GF)
Price: From Dh129,900 (GS); Dh149,000 (GF)
On sale: Now

Company Profile

Company name: Namara
Started: June 2022
Founder: Mohammed Alnamara
Based: Dubai
Sector: Microfinance
Current number of staff: 16
Investment stage: Series A
Investors: Family offices

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Revibe
Started: 2022
Founders: Hamza Iraqui and Abdessamad Ben Zakour
Based: UAE
Industry: Refurbished electronics
Funds raised so far: $10m
Investors: Flat6Labs, Resonance and various others

Hot Seat

Director: James Cullen Bressack

Stars: Mel Gibson, Kevin Dillon, Shannen Doherty, Sam Asghari

Rating: 1/5

UAE SQUAD

Mohammed Naveed (captain), Rohan Mustafa, Ashfaq Ahmed, Rameez Shahzad, Shaiman Anwar, Mohammed Usman, Mohammed Boota, Zawar Farid, Ghulam Shabber, Ahmed Raza, Sultan Ahmed, Imran Haider, Qadeer Ahmed, Chirag Suri , Zahoor Khan

OTHER IPL BOWLING RECORDS

Best bowling figures: 6-14 – Sohail Tanvir (for Rajasthan Royals against Chennai Super Kings in 2008)

Best average: 16.36 – Andrew Tye

Best economy rate: 6.53 – Sunil Narine

Best strike-rate: 12.83 – Andrew Tye

Best strike-rate in an innings: 1.50 – Suresh Raina (for Chennai Super Kings against Rajasthan Royals in 2011)

Most runs conceded in an innings: 70 – Basil Thampi (for Sunrisers Hyderabad against Royal Challengers Bangalore in 2018)

Most hat-tricks: 3 – Amit Mishra

Most dot-balls: 1,128 – Harbhajan Singh

Most maiden overs bowled: 14 – Praveen Kumar

Most four-wicket hauls: 6 – Sunil Narine

 

Oppenheimer

Director: Christopher Nolan

Stars: Cillian Murphy, Emily Blunt, Robert Downey Jr, Florence Pugh, Matt Damon

Rating: 5/5

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3

Director: James Gunn

Stars: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper

Rating: 4/5

About Tenderd

Started: May 2018

Founder: Arjun Mohan

Based: Dubai

Size: 23 employees 

Funding: Raised $5.8m in a seed fund round in December 2018. Backers include Y Combinator, Beco Capital, Venturesouq, Paul Graham, Peter Thiel, Paul Buchheit, Justin Mateen, Matt Mickiewicz, SOMA, Dynamo and Global Founders Capital

Company profile

Date started: May 2022
Founder: Husam Aboul Hosn
Based: DIFC
Sector: FinTech — Innovation Hub
Employees: eight
Stage: pre-seed
Investors: pre-seed funding raised from family and friends earlier this year

If you go

The flights
There are various ways of getting to the southern Serengeti in Tanzania from the UAE. The exact route and airstrip depends on your overall trip itinerary and which camp you’re staying at. 
Flydubai flies direct from Dubai to Kilimanjaro International Airport from Dh1,350 return, including taxes; this can be followed by a short flight from Kilimanjaro to the Serengeti with Coastal Aviation from about US$700 (Dh2,500) return, including taxes. Kenya Airways, Emirates and Etihad offer flights via Nairobi or Dar es Salaam.