CANNES, FRANCE — At the Cannes Film Festival, digital production company Digital Domain Media Group and twofour54, the Abu Dhabi government-backed media and entertainment hub, announced that they are collaborating to drive development of the local film, TV and media production industry in the Middle East.
Digital Domain Media Group (DDMG) will establish an animation, visual effects and motion-capture studio and Digital Domain Institute media school in Abu Dhabi. The collaboration is designed to support the Emirate’s goal to become the region’s center of excellence for media content creation, growing both the industry and national talent.
DDMG will begin production of visual effects and animation in studios in twofour54 at the beginning of 2013, with plans to recruit and hire staff immediately from local and international talent pools. Over time the studio will employ upwards of 500 people. DDMG will develop a purpose-built 150,000 square foot (14,000 square meter) state-of-the-art entertainment production complex, which is expected to be operational by the end of 2015.
The new Digital Domain studio will create animated feature films, produce visual and 3D effects, engage in the production of original Middle Eastern-branded entertainment for global audiences and contribute to international productions. The studio will become part of Digital Domain’s global feature film VFX and animation pipeline, connected to its studios in Los Angeles, Vancouver, San Francisco, London, Florida and Mumbai.
The Digital Domain Institute/Abu Dhabi, modeled after the Digital Domain Institute in West Palm Beach, Florida, will train students in the essential skills of digital media production for entertainment, simulation and related applications. Classes at the Digital Domain Institute/Abu Dhabi are scheduled to begin early in 2014.
This marks the first time a major, global studio has established a presence in the region, highlighting the impact that twofour54 has had on the media industry in the Arab world. By bringing leading edge technologies and creative techniques to Abu Dhabi, DDMG will support the wider film and TV production industry and provide massive opportunities for talent and creative development in the region.
Separately, earlier this week, twofour54 announced that the Emirate of Abu Dhabi now offers one of the world’s most competitive production incentives a 30% rebate for film, television and commercial media projects.
“We are excited to join twofour54 in building a strong foundation for the filmmaking industry in Abu Dhabi,” said DDMG CEO and Chairman John Textor. “There is tremendous opportunity to produce original entertainment content for Middle Eastern audiences worldwide, and to bring Hollywood work and our own original productions here as well. Pairing the studio and school enables us to help the Emirate to build a sustainable creative industries base. Abu Dhabi was the natural location for us given its strategic location, modern infrastructure and supportive government. We’re looking forward to grooming up-and-coming Arab filmmakers at a time of such great awakening in this part of the world.”
“Digital Domain represents the next great leap forward for twofour54 and Abu Dhabi - a strong move into digital production and the development of locally created feature films and TV content,” said Wayne Borg, Deputy CEO and Chief Operating Officer of twofour54. “The establishment of DDMG in Abu Dhabi is a significant event in the evolution of the media industry in the Middle East. It will provide incredible opportunities for young Arabs to develop skills and careers in an area of the media industry that has simply never existed before in the region.”