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Front Row is planning a feature-length series about Lebanese bankrobber Sally Hafez

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Source: Sally Hafez / Front Row

Sally Hafez

Dubai-based Front Row Productions is planning a feature film and TV series based around Sally Hafez, a Lebanese woman who received international attention after storming a bank in 2022.

The company has acquired life rights from Hafez, who held staff hostage at the Blom Bank in Beirut on September 14, 2022, and demanded they allow her to withdraw her own savings to pay for her sister’s medical bills. The incident took place during a financial crisis in Lebanon that saw citizens illegally restricted from withdrawing from their accounts due to an unofficial capital control imposed by banks in the country.

In a statement, Front Row said it “plans to explore different aspects of her story by creating a variety of media content through feature films, TV series, docu-series, and a podcast series by looking at the various angles of Sally’s unique but relatable journey from a patriotic activist to a disenfranchised citizen taking it upon herself to be divisive.”

Armed with a toy gun, Hafez succeeded in reclaiming $13,000 and 30 million Lebanese Pounds ($335), obtaining a receipt to avoid theft charges. After going into hiding, she later handed herself into authorities, receiving just a minor fine from a local judge.

Front Row said the deal formed part of the company’s ambitions to tell a wide array of stories from across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), including underrepresented regions such as the Levant.

Hafez revealed she had been approached by several parties in the US and Europe to secure her life rights but said: “It was important to me that my story gets told by people who understand what Lebanon is going through, and that is something I found with the Front Row team.”

Front Row Productions is a joint venture between distributors Front Row Filmed Entertainment and Empire Entertainment.

The company’s first production was the Arabic adaptation of Italian hit Perfect Strangers, which performed strongly after its debut on Netflix in January 2022, and is in post-production on The Sand Castle, a mystery thriller directed by Matty Brown and starring Nadine Labaki. Front Row is also gearing up to shoot Jordanian crime thriller Boomah this summer, directed by Zaid Abu Hamdan and starring Rakeen Saad.

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