Wednesday 29 November 2023

Neom's Media Village, Bajdah Desert Studios open for business

RIYADH, September 15, 2022

Saudi Arabia's futuristic $500-billion city Neom has announced the formal operational opening of Neom Media Village and Bajdah Desert Studios, which together comprise the country’s largest sound stages and film production support facilities, having supported some 25 productions over the course of the last 18 months.
Neom Media Village currently features one 2,400-sq-m state-of-the-art sound stage, complete with back-of-house facilities comprising make-up rooms, green rooms and production offices, with three further stages under construction. 
Built to accommodate the immediate and growing demand from regional and international producers for state-of-the-art TV and film facilities, the first three sound stages across the two locations are already operational.
A further seven, including a high-tech volumetric production stage, are set to open by Q1 2023,  said the statement from Neom.
On the Bajdah Desert Studios, Neom said it boasts two 3,000-sq-m sound stages, with a further four scheduled to come online by the year-end.
All the studios will be home to world-class production facilities, including set production offices, construction warehouses, prop shops, wardrobe, SFX facilities and backlot space to support complex set builds, it stated. 
Film and ancillary equipment including cameras; grip and lighting; shotover; heavy-lift drones, telehandlers, boom lifts, scissor lifts and trackway are available on both sites, said the statement from Neom.
The production facilities will also offer a total of 350 dedicated accommodation units for cast and crew, supported by a great offering of lifestyle facilities, it added.
Neom, the sustainable region taking shape in northwest Saudi Arabia, also formally announced its over 40% cash rebate production incentive scheme for feature films, TV (drama, reality, documentaries) and commercials, with producers able to secure a higher percentage based on their industry development contributions.
"Clearly production incentives play a vital role in terms of attracting productions but are best leveraged when the entire package is in place: infrastructure, on-the-ground international production expertise, crew depth and ease of doing business," remarked Wayne Borg, Managing Director for Media Industries, Entertainment and Culture at Neom. 
"Neom is now in the position to offer this competitive package. This is an important milestone in realizing our aim of becoming the epicenter of the regional media industry," stated Borg. 
"Our team, facilities and diverse filming locations mean we can provide a seamless, world-class production experience and use our capacity and capabilities to become the focal point of collaboration among talent, creators and key contributors within the global media industry," he added.
Complementing the physical sound stages and production facilities, Neom has assembled an experienced international production team that has a deep understanding of what producers and crew need, whether on stage or on location. This team supports incoming productions to provide a smooth and cost-efficient production experience. 
The Saudi futuristic city said the interim facilities already have a number of productions underway including fantasy-adventure ‘Rise of The Witches,’ the region’s biggest TV show to date, and ‘Million Dollar Island,’ a new reality TV survival show that wrapped filming this July. In addition, Neom’s first local serial drama is scheduled to begin production this month.
During 2021, Neom had hosted 20 major international productions, ranging from major large-scale international features such as Desert Warrior, helmed by Rupert Wyatt (director of ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’) and starring Anthony Mackie, Sir Ben Kingsley and Aiysha Hart. 
Additionally, a range of TV and streaming projects have demonstrated Neom's ability and capacity to support not only a variety of productions but also to host multiple, large-scale productions simultaneously, it added.-TradeArabia News Service


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