Advanced Television

Abu Dhabi boosts support for film and TV

April 22, 2016

By Chris Forrester

Abu Dhabi’s Media Zone Authority (MZA), which includes the twofour54 production facility, says it is streamlining its initiatives which support the film and TV industries.

Image Nation Abu Dhabi, an MZA entity, will take the lead in supporting and investing in film and television productions through its current initiatives, which emphasise active partnership and local projects. Also under the MZA banner, Abu Dhabi Film Commission (ADFC) will continue to offer the region’s only 30 per cent rebate to attract regional and international productions to the Emirate, while twofour54 will continue developing its world-class infrastructure and local talent pool to advance and sustain the industry.

Last year, Image Nation Abu Dhabi announced it would invest AED 400 million in the local film and television industry over five years.  The television space has been particularly robust for Image Nation Abu Dhabi, which recently wrapped filming for the landmark legal series Qalb Al Adala (translated as ‘Justice’ in English). Shot in Abu Dhabi, more than 70 regional crew members were involved in the production, alongside a cast of 150 actors and 1,000 extras from across the region.

In late 2015, the company launched Quest Arabiya in partnership with Discovery Communications. The free-to-air channel reaches 45 million homes in 22 countries across the MENA region and the channel is commissioning programming that will be developed, shot and produced across the region and fronted by regional talent.

“In order to unify the mechanisms of MZA support and investment in filmmaking, Image Nation Abu Dhabi’s initiatives will be the only platform through which MZA provides support for Emirati and Arab film productions,” says MZA. “This support was previously split between Image Nation Abu Dhabi and SANAD Film Fund.”

The ADFC rebate will continue to encourage regional and international filmmakers to bring their production projects to Abu Dhabi, in turn creating business opportunities for local companies and enhancing the gross domestic product of the Emirate. According to a study undertaken by PwC, for every $1 invested in the rebate, $4.50 is added to Abu Dhabi’s GDP, making the rebate scheme a key initiative supporting Abu Dhabi’s diversification vision.

The ADFC rebate, together with twofour54’s world-class infrastructure and leading production services, has helped Abu Dhabi to attract major international productions, including Brad Pitt’s War Machine, Universal Pictures’ Fast and Furious 7 and Disney’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

twofour54 will continue building a world class infrastructure capable of handling large scale international productions, and attracting more media companies to the twofour54 campus to support growth of the industry. Last year twofour54 upgraded its post-production centre with the latest editing, audio and colour correction capabilities. Additionally, twofour54 will focus on developing local media industry talent through agreed internships on set with leading Hollywood, Bollywood and Arab film-makers.

Acting CEO of MZA, Maryam Al Mheiri, commented: “Abu Dhabi’s reputation as a film and television production hub is thriving as a result of MZA investments in the industry and we see huge commercial potential for Abu Dhabi’s growing media industry to capitalise on this. With Image Nation now part of MZA, we are able to streamline our efforts in a manner that will stimulate the industry and create opportunities for media companies based in the Capital. Working together is the best way to move closer towards our shared goal of a sustainable media industry that contributes culturally as well as economically to the Capital and wider region.”

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