Abu Dhabi: The Talk of Hollywood

12 Jun 2014

Abu Dhabi film industry meets on an International level

twofour54, the commercial arm of the Media Zone Authority – Abu Dhabi, and Image Nation Abu Dhabi, the GCC’s leading content creator, highlighted the UAE’s importance as a film and television hub during a meeting with top Hollywood Executives.

Senior delegates from both entities discussed the growing potential of Abu Dhabi as a production destination at a panel discussion organised by the Aspen Institute on behalf of the UAE Embassy in the United States.

The event coincided with the launch of Etihad Airways’ non-stop service between Abu Dhabi and Los Angeles, providing further opportunities for Hollywood studios to discover the unique locations and growing production infrastructure available in the Emirate.

“Abu Dhabi has made a tremendous impact in the production sector attracting some of the world’s largest and most successful movie franchises,” said Noura Al Kaabi, the Chief Executive Officer of twofour54.

“The success we are experiencing is due to the infrastructure and support we have established at twofour54, the development of local talent, the overwhelming support of Government entities, and Abu Dhabi Film Commission’s 30 per cent rebate on production spend in the Emirate.”

In addition to twofour54’s CEO, the panel included Mohamed Al Mubarak, Chairman of the Board at Image Nation, Ambassador Charles Rivkin, the US Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs, and Ali Mostafa, the pioneering Emirati filmmaker and director who is changing the face of film production in the Gulf through his successful film City of Life and his current project From A to B.

Mohamed Al Mubarak, Chairman of Image Nation said: “At Image Nation, we have worked with a range of award-winning production companies including Parkes/Macdonald, Hyde Park Entertainment, and Participant Media, which has allowed us to work with some of the best of Hollywood and whose experience and knowledge has enabled us to grow the industry in the UAE.

“Image Nation and twofour54 are focused on developing our regional talents with international expertise, to enable local filmmakers to learn from world-class talent and together build the UAE’s film sector.”

During the event, Mohamed Al Mubarak discussed many of Image Nation’s upcoming productions, as well as its current co-production with twofour54, From A to B, directed by Ali F. Mostafa. Ali treated guests at the event with an exclusive first look at the film, which is slated for release at the end of the year.

Abu Dhabi has set its sights on being the leading film and television production hub in the Middle East. In the past 12 months it has attracted major international films including Star Wars: Episode VII, Fast & Furious 7, Deliver us from Evil,the Bollywood feature Bang Bang, and television shows The Bold & The Beautiful and BBC’s Top Gear. Major regional productions including The Brothers and Hammam Shami have also filmed on location in Abu Dhabi.

Both twofour54 and Image Nation have helped to develop local talent by providing young UAE nationals with opportunities to intern and work with the experienced crews that film in the Emirate. Two interns recently had the opportunity to travel to London to work on Star Wars Episode VII at London’s Pinewood Studios.

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