twofour54, the commercial arm of the Media Zone Authority – Abu Dhabi, and Image Nation, the GCC leading content creator, have reinforced the Emirate’s emergence as a global hub for film and television production by showcasing its expertise during panel discussions with major studio executives in Los Angeles.
Senior delegates from twofour54 as well as Image Nation, discussed the growing potential of Abu Dhabi as a production destination during an event organized by the Aspen Institute at the request of the United Arab Emirates embassy in the United States.
The event coincided with the launch of Etihad Airway’s 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, who participated in the panel discussions. "The success we are experiencing is due to the infrastructure and support we have established at twofour54, the development of location talent, the overwhelming support of Government entities and the Abu Dhabi Film Commission’s 30 percent 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 of City of Life.
Mohamed Al Mubarak 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 allows us to work with some of the best of Hollywood 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 is has attracted major international films including Star Wars: Episode VII and Fast & Furious 7, Deliver us from Evil, the Bollywood feature Bang Bang and television shows The Bold & The Beautiful and BBC’s Top Gear.
twofour54, the commercial arm of the Media Zone Authority-Abu Dhabi, is one of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region’s leading media and entertainment hubs. As part of its mission, twofour54 is driving the development of the creative industries in the region, supporting talent and content development initiatives, creativity and young entrepreneurs.
Its initiatives are contributing to the growth and diversity of the Abu Dhabi economy and its campus is home to over 250 local, regional and international companies, including Ubisoft, Cartoon Network, Sky News Arabia, CNN, Flash Entertainment, Sport 360, Reed Exhibitions, Charisma, Tahadi and Jawaker.
twofour54 provides a range of services including: training across all media sectors; business development and funding support to UAE nationals and other Arabs with great ideas; a creativity lab that allows members to get involved in creative projects; and it facilitates world-class content through its production and post-production facilities. These services are supported by tawasol, facilitating easy business set-up and providing ongoing support services including the IATA accredited travel agency, tawasol travel.
twofour54 also powers the Abu Dhabi Film Festival and Abu Dhabi Media Summit to drive the development of a vibrant film and entertainment industry.
Since launching in 2008 as a subsidiary of Abu Dhabi Media, Image Nation has become one of the leading content creators in Abu Dhabi and the UAE. The company commissions and produces filmed content across a wide range of platforms, with a particular focus on audiences in the UAE and Gulf region.
Image Nation fulfils four key commitments: Developing Emirati filmed entertainment; growing the local film and television industry through training and internship programs; supporting Abu Dhabi entities in creating content to meet strategic and marketing objectives; and co-producing an aggressive slate of international films through several strategic partnerships.
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