To lure Indian filmmakers, NEOM, the Kingdom’s futuristic city, seeks to build a world-class media centre.
Bollywood has long had a close relationship with the Arabian Gulf, having shot several films there. With this in mind, NEOM, the new smart city being built in the northwest of the country as part of the Vision 2030 initiative, is establishing the region’s first truly integrated media hub.
With diverse locations, many of which have never been used before, as well as production services support, the initiative offers an intriguing prospect for Indian producers.
To encourage Indian filmmakers, NEOM is proposing lucrative production incentive rebate programmes to kick-start the development of the media ecosystem.
“There is a tremendous opportunity to build the region’s first fully integrated and legacy-free media hub”
Wayne Borg is leading the project. He has over 20 years of experience in leadership roles in the media and creative industries and has been tasked with developing NEOM’s Media Hub. Borg was president and general manager of Fox Studios, the first complete facility built specifically for the production of motion pictures back in 1928, in Los Angeles before joining NEOM.
When asked about his plans for NEOM’s media hub, Borg stated: “There is a tremendous opportunity to build the region’s first fully integrated and legacy-free media hub powered by the most technologically advanced place in the world. Pockets of the media industry exist in the region, but efforts remain largely fragmented. We aim to change that and create the world-class media hub the region deserves, and that allows it to compete with and be part of the global industry.”
To encourage Indian filmmakers, NEOM is proposing lucrative production incentive rebate programmes
The first of NEOM’s four sound stages is expected to be operational by the end of 2021, with additional facilities following in 2022. Production on television and film has already begun, with the largest-budget Hollywood picture to be shot in the region currently in pre-production.