NEOM — NEOM, the sustainable region taking shape in northwest Saudi Arabia, announced on Wednesday the formal operational opening of NEOM Media Village and Bajdah Desert Studios.
NEOM also formally announced its 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.
NEOM Media Village and Bajdah Desert Studios comprise together the country’s largest sound stages and film production support facilities, having supported some 25 productions over the course of the last 18 months.
Wayne Borg, managing director for Media Industries, Entertainment and Culture at NEOM, said: “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.”
“NEOM is now in the position to offer this competitive package.”
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.
“This is an important milestone in realizing our aim of becoming the epicenter of the regional media industry,” Borg said.
“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.”
NEOM Media Village currently features one 2,400-square-meter, state-of-the-art sound stage, complete with back-of-house facilities comprising of make-up rooms, green rooms and production offices, with three further stages under construction.
At Bajdah Desert Studios, there are two 3,000-square-meter sound stages, with a further four scheduled to come online by the end of 2022.
All the studios will be home to world-class production facilities, including set production offices, construction warehouses, prop shops, wardrobe, SFX facilities and back-lot space to support complex set builds.
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.
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.
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 interim facilities already have a number of productions under way 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.
This is in addition to NEOM’s first local serial drama, which is scheduled to begin production this month.
During 2021, NEOM 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.
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