Vimala Vasan

Abu Dhabi, Feb. 23

DUBAI Media City on Tuesday announced a new initiative called Dubai Studio City that seeks to foster the growth of the broadcast and film production industry in the region.

To be built within the Dubai land complex, Dubai Studio City will offer a complete technical and community infrastructure for the film, TV and music production sectors to flourish.

The latest initiative from the Dubai Holding Group, Dubai Studio City, aims to build a large cluster of companies from across the industry value-chain. These include production companies, support service providers offering production and post-production facilities, animation studios and services such as dubbing, makeup, costume designing, stage designing and building, casting, telnet agencies as well as telecine and lab facilities.

The City will feature a broadcast centre housing offices and post-production studios and a business centre for freelancers. It will also have a production studio complex that will accommodate pre-built studios, sound stages, workshops, back lots and stage areas.

The infrastructure for the first phase of the project will be completed by the first quarter of 2006. Companies can build their own studios and facilities in custom-sized plots in the City. The cluster will also house film and television schools and academies and companies providing location shooting, location management services and music recording services.

The announcement of the Dubai Studio City initiative comes on the heels of the rapid expansion of the broadcast and film sector in DMC as well as the success of the Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) held in December 2004.

"The film and broadcast production sector holds considerable promise for UAE and the region," said Mr Ahmad Bin Byat, Director General of the Dubai Technology and Media Free Zone.

"There has been growing interest from the Hollywood and Bollywood film industries in Dubai as a shooting location. The objective of Dubai Studio City is to facilitate the creation and development of a world class infrastructure and environment in Dubai to foster the growth of the television, film and music industries in the region," he added.

Dubai Studio City will tap into the rapid growth of the film industry in Europe, the Middle East and the Indian sub-continent. Globally the film industry is estimated to grow from $65 billion in 2003 to $87.6 billion in 2005. The share of these regions will be $22.6 billion. Dubai Studio City will provide a single window for applying for production permits and visas.

A fast-track immigration process will enable crews to get visas quickly. This service will allow companies to recruit talent easily. Besides, flexible labour laws ensure that the industry's needs for part-time and temporary requirements are met.

It will provide all benefits offered in the free zones. The community infrastructure provided by Dubai Studio City will include entertainment areas including movie theatres and retail spaces.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated February 24, 2005)
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