Dubai emerges 'film makers' hot favourite'
Dubai, May 25, 2009
A secure operational environment, attractive locales, incomparable logistical advantages and an expanding local talent base have made Dubai the most preferred destination for film production and broadcast industries.
Dubai Studio City, a film and broadcast industry-dedicated free zone cluster and a member of Tecom Investments, has played a key role in luring global television and film companies to the emirate for pre- and post production activities.
A cluster is an all-encompassing destination, Dubai Studio City offers enabling facilities for design, visual effects and music composition in addition to pre-built studios, sound stages, training academies and a business centre, said a top official.
Jamal Al Sharif, executive director, Dubai Studio City, said: “As a destination that offers a wide range of compelling locales for film shoots, Dubai appeared on the radar of global studios and major producers following the tremendous success of Dubai Media City – the first project in Tecom Investment’s media cluster.
'By 2005, when Dubai Studio City was launched as a logical evolution of the media sector’s growth and an additional component of the Tecom cluster, global film and broadcast industries were increasingly looking at Dubai as an alternate destination.'
'The state-of-the-art infrastructure at the free zone especially generated substantial interest among the global filmmakers,' he added.
DSC’S single-window Location Approval Services (LAS) department expedites and facilitates the approval process for all film shoots and photography activities in Dubai and the UAE.
Providing a full bouquet of enabling services including location scouting, visa, travel, accommodation arrangements and access to talent, the LAS department has registered a 33 per cent growth from 2007 to 2008.
The enabling advantages offered by Dubai and key entities such as Dubai Studio City have been strongly endorsed by some of the film and TV production companies based in the emirate.
Tim Smythe, CEO, Filmworks, said for over 10 years, Filmworks has serviced numerous feature films from the US, Middle East and India, including the Warner Bros. film Syriana and Universal Pictures’ The Kingdom.
'We have recently completed principal photography for City of Life, which is the first multi-lingual feature film to be written and directed by an Emirati, Ali F. Mostafa and produced with UAE funding, intended for both local and international release.'
'City of Life allows us to showcase Emirati talent internationally and create and sustain our own home grown film industry,' Smythe added.
Dubai already offers a vast talent pool - both on-screen and off-screen. Through training programmes and partnerships, Dubai Studio City aims to ensure this talent pool of professionals and freelancers continues to grow steadily.
Not surprisingly, the current global economic crisis has provided more opportunities for film and broadcast production companies in the region to turn around the slump in market moods with enhanced creative solutions.
Georgina Hockley, general manager, Bareface Production, said Dubai was by far the best equipped location with the latest technologies, talent and expertise that may somewhat still be lacking in other parts of the region.
“This in turn means that it remains more cost-effective than other places and also the most convenient in terms of saving clients’ time, effort and resources,” she added.
Dubai’s efforts are already beginning to pay off. Interestingly, an increasing number of projects come from well-developed film and entertainment markets such as Egypt, India, the US and the UK.
Filmmakers from other regions’ emerging industries have also shown their preference for Dubai as a location for pre- as well as post-production activities.
Ian Ross, Producer, Central Films, says:<