Abu Dhabi has made major strides in developing itself as a film and TV production hub, with twofour54, a dedicated media zone in the emirate, leading the charge. Maryam Almeiri, CEO, twofour54, explains more.
How has film and TV production been in 2018 in Abu Dhabi? What are your expectations for 2019?
This has been our most successful year to date, with more than 20 major regional and international productions produced in Abu Dhabi. I am particularly proud that we are attracting such a variety of productions from all corners of the industry thanks to our 700-plus diverse locations, world-class facilities and growing pool of talented professionals, as well, of course, as financial incentives such as the 30% production rebate from Abu Dhabi Film Commission.
How is Abu Dhabi developing as a production hub?
We have seen dramatic changes in the all aspects of our film and TV production capabilities over the past decade, driven by our vision to be the Capital for content creators and the increasing demand from filmmakers for our unique offering here in Abu Dhabi.
The surge in major productions coming here – we’ve had more than 60 in the last five years alone – means that we have been able to accelerate the development of our local talent, creating a pool of highly experienced firms and freelancers for filmmakers to tap into, whether they need camera crew, lighting, location scouts or extras. Meanwhile, we have seen our infrastructure, such as our award-winning studios, post-production facilities and 150,000sqm backlot, develop to a standard that is as good as anywhere in the world, if not better.
What were the major developments from twofour54 in 2018 and what are the organization’s plans for 2019?
Twofour54 is home to more than 470 media firms, offering them all the services and support they need to innovate, collaborate and create. Together, we are telling the stories of our region and raising the profile of our Emirate and everything it has to offer, which attracts both new businesses and visitors to our shores. To support this goal, we introduced and expanded numerous initiatives in 2018 to further strengthen our collaborative community.
We’ve also developed initiatives to make it easier for media firms to do business in Abu Dhabi, such as dual licensing, which enables partners to bid for government work, and extending our entrepreneurship scheme to enable more small businesses to work from home. Plus, as of December 1, all new economic licenses issued by Media Zone Authority – Abu Dhabi are free, in line with the resolution of Abu Dhabi Executive Council.
Over the next few years, we will see our vision being further achieved at our new, larger, home on Yas Island. Everything at the custom-built location is being designed to encourage innovation and collaboration, and to create world-class content from Abu Dhabi.
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