twofour54 and O3 Productions, part of MBC Group, have inaugurated a new backlot in Abu Dhabi as part of a three-year agreement signed in November 2015.
Maryam Al Mheiri, acting CEO of twofour54, and Fadi Ismail, general manager of O3 Productions, officially opened the backlot which represents a major milestone in the development of Abu Dhabi’s production industry and will be used to film a new Saudi drama.
The 4,000 square-metre outdoor set is located at Khalifa Industrial Zone (KIZAD) and takes the shape of a neighbourhood in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia in the late 19th century, centred around a piazza with shops, a mosque and houses. O3 Productions will use the backlot to film the 30-episode drama, Haret El Sheikh, which is written by Bandar Bajbaa and directed by Al-Mothanna Sobah. The production has over 60 actors and elite stars from the gulf including Mohamad Bakhsh, Jamil Ali, Abdel Mosen Nemer, Yousef El Jarrah, Khaled El Harbi, Majdi ElKadi, Sanaa Baker Younes, Wajanat ElRihidi, Shirin Hattab, Shaima El Fadel, Meryam El Ghamedi and famous young stars Abdelrahman Yamani, Moayyad Elthakafi, Ali Sharif, Moaz Younes, Abdulrahman Rehedi, Sara Tiba and many more famous names of Hijazi drama.
Maryam Al Mheiri: “Establishing this new backlot is a significant milestone for twofour54 and Abu Dhabi Film Commission in enhancing the industry’s infrastructure. Supporting Arabic productions is high on the agenda of twofour54 and we are delighted to be working with O3 Productions in developing quality Arabic content for the region and beyond to enjoy. With the addition of the backlot to our production ecosystem and more productions scheduled for later in the year, new jobs will be created in the local production industry which supports the development of our talent pool and the overall economy.
“Partnerships with local entities are vital for the realisation of Abu Dhabi’s economic diversification vision and our partnership with KIZAD is a great example of this as we share a common goal of attracting more private sector investment to Abu Dhabi,” she added.
Fadi Ismail, general manager of O3 Productions said: “We are very happy to be producing drama in Abu Dhabi with the support of twofour54 and utilizing its facilities, as this will allow us to increase our output and diversify our dramas, as well as enhance the ecosystem of production in the UAE and the gulf in general”.
twofour54 will provide O3 Productions with access to its studios, edit suites, colour grading services, sound studios, and equipment. Additionally, O3 Productions will benefit from Abu Dhabi Film Commission’s 30% rebate scheme which applies on all production spend and additional incentives available to drama productions.
O3 Productions specialise in the production of original and innovative Arabic, Turkish and international scripted drama formats.
Its extensive library now contains thousands of hours of premium content including Saraya Abdeen, Al Qaserat, and the biggest Arab historical series, Omar.