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Message from Chairman
On Set in Dubai – Ramadan Special
In the Limelight
Highlights from 2014
Spotlight on Locations
A Growing Footprint
Message from Chairman
 
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The past few months have been some of the busiest and most exciting for the Dubai Film and TV Commission (DFTC)!

The DFTC was launched to serve as a one-stop shop for producers, film crews and filmmakers to ensure that filming in Dubai is as easy and efficient as possible. Since our launch in 2012, we have consistently explored new ways to help filmmakers in Dubai. Some of these initiatives include the launch of the DFTC automation system in June this year. At Cannes 2014, DFTC also released the first 'Film Dubai Production Guide - 2014' – a comprehensive resource listing information about locations, talent and advice on filming and producing in Dubai.

We are proud that Dubai continues to be a location of choice for advertisement and film productions from the UAE, the MENA region and across the world. You may have seen glimpses of Dubai in Ramadan TV series like L'Excellence, Qabl Al Awan, Wesh Rajaak, and Ya Man Kont Habeeby. These TV series that are being filmed locally are also being broadcast across the region, thus bringing Dubai to the living rooms of millions.

If you would like to get in touch with us regarding any of your projects, please don't hesitate to write in via our website, email, Facebook or Twitter pages.

Jamal Al Sharif
Chairman
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Highlights from 2014
DFTC launches online permit application & approval process for filmmakers


Dubai Film and TV Commission (DFTC) have announced the launch of phase one of their automated script clearance and film permitting system. The new streamlined system is in line with DFTC's mandate to make filming in Dubai easier and to grow the emirate's media production industry. The system will provide local production companies with the ability to submit, track and pay for permits online, eliminating the need for in-person visits; whilst location owners will be able to review and approve detailed requests at the click of a button.

In addition, local production companies and location owners will be able to track the status of active requests, track history of previous requests, and save and retrieve filming permit requests

In phase two, we will see added features and benefits to the system, such as a location gallery, which will showcase Dubai’s diverse shooting locations, and will ensure the user experience is more streamlined and efficient.



Dubai Film and TV Commission Team Moves to Dubai Studio City


DFTC has moved offices to Dubai Studio City, Commercial Offices, Building-1, Ground Floor. All of our phone numbers, fax numbers and email addresses remain the same. Easy access and parking are available – please see the location map and driving directions here.



Dubai Film and TV Commission releases its annual report for 2014


The Dubai Film and TV Commission (DFTC) released its annual report for 2013 / 2014 in September. The report highlights a massive shift taking place in Dubai and the Middle East's media landscape, as well as key developments within the film and TV production industry. It also highlights the key milestones achieved by DFTC, from launching two key projects, namely the 'Automation Project' and the 'Film Dubai Production Guide', both offering easier services and advanced facilities for filmmakers and production companies in Dubai. The report also shines the spotlight on some of the region's biggest blockbusters and international TV formats that have been facilitated by DFTC over the past two years including Happy New Year and MasterChef Arabia. Moreover, the report shares key information about the industry and its economic impact on countries. Finally, it sheds light on the key events that DFTC has recently participated in, such as Cannes Film Festival 2014, Shanghai Film Festival, MIPCOM and DIFF.

The full report can be found here.



Happy New Year chose Dubai as the location for its premiere on 22 October


Happy New Year, the Bollywood blockbuster which was largely filmed in Dubai, chose the Emirate as the location for its premiere on 22 October, testament to Dubai’s growing importance as a key part of the media production value chain. Dubai is becoming a sought after destination for Bollywood productions, which have included the recent filming of Welcome Back and upcoming Indian film Hamari Adhuri Kahani, starring Vidya Balan and Emraan Hashmi, which was recently filmed in the Emirate. Bollywood production teams are increasingly looking to Dubai as a budding filmmaking hub, within close proximity to India, which can support all of their filmmaking needs.

The filming of Happy New Year was facilitated by Dubai Film and TV Commission (DFTC), which strives to establish Dubai and the UAE as the premier filming destination for local and around the globe productions, by serving as a one-stop shop to ensure that filming in Dubai is as easy and efficient as possible.



Ramadan Filming in Dubai

This year, once again, Dubai was the location of choice for a number of Ramadan TV productions from across the region including L'Excellence, Qabl Al Awan, Wesh Rajaak, and Ya Man Kont Habeeby. Love in the Forties, starring Khalid Amin and directed by Manaf Abdallah was also shot across diverse Dubai locations including Al Barsha, Dubai Internet City, Jumeirah Beach and Safa Park, and L'Excellence was shot in The Atlantis, Dubai International Airport, Sheikh Zayed Road and the Palm Jumeirah.

Dubai's choice of filming locations in addition to facilities enabled by DFTC were cited by producers as a few of the reasons for choosing the city as a filming location.


Dubai Testimonials
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Pasant Shams – General Manager, Water Flame Production, who recently worked on “L’Excellence”

Tell us about your experience of filming in Dubai? 

We filmed L'Excellence here in Dubai. My experience in Dubai has been absolutely amazing. I can never thank the Dubai Film and TV Commission enough for all the support they've given us. The commission was completely understanding and flexible with everything we asked for. Everything was available from locations to facilities. The filming process was really smooth. We only filmed 5 episodes of L'Excellence in Dubai. However, because of how great DFTC was, we are working on another production that will be shown during Ramadan next year and ALL the episodes will be shot ONLY in Dubai. DFTC's sustained support encouraged us to take this step further. 

What have been your favourite locations to film in Dubai? 

Dubai has a diversity of unique and beautiful locations. We filmed in the Dubai International airport, Sheikh Zayed, Jumeirah; however, my favorite was Atlantis as we filmed most of our episodes there. 
 
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Bassam Abdul Al Ameer – Saray Al Beit, Hob El 40 and Yaman Kont Habeeby

You worked extensively in Dubai for your Ramadan productions, tell us more. 

We worked on three productions this year, Saray Al Beit, Hob El 40 and Yama Kont Habeeby. I was one of the first people to work on productions in Dubai back in 2000, and I have always been very impressed about the filming process in Dubai – everything seems to be available from facilities to locations and the filming process has always been very smooth. 

What have been your favourite locations to film in Dubai? 

Everything about Dubai is truly unique – Dubai is known for its diversity of locations. Ones that I can think of at the moment are JBR, Sheikh Zayed Road, Burj Khalifa. I think we tried to take advantage of all the unique locations in Dubai to film our productions in.

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On Set in Dubai – Ramadan Special
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The show: Hob Fe Al Arba’een

The director: Manaf Aballah

The stars: Khalid Amin, Nour, Mais Hamdanm Bala Abd Allah, Shila Seb. Najwa Al Kebeisy, Mohammad Jaber

Featured Dubai locations: Dubai Media City, Al Maktoum Bridge, Burj Al Arab beach, Gold Souq, Safa Park

 
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The show: Ba'ad Al Awan

The stars: Arwa Al Sabban, Saoud Al Ka'aby, Fatma Al Hoseini, Ahmed Al Jasmi

Featured Dubai locations: Jumeirah Beach, Safa Park, World Trade Centre, The Atlantis, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai Marina Mall, American University in Dubai

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The show: L'Excellence

The producer: Wael Abdullah

The stars: Ahmed Ezz, Nour (Lebanese actress), Salah Abdullah, Ahmed Rizk, Menna Fadali, Intesar, Ahmed Halawa, Mirihan Hussein and Rania Mallah

Featured Dubai locations: The Atlantis, Dubai International Airport, Sheikh Zayed Road, Jumeirah, Al Wasl, Palm Jumeirah

 
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The show: We A'esh Raja'ak

The producer: Rasha Sharbatji

The stars: Asaad Fadda, Suzan Najm Al Deen, Deema Baya'a, Deema Al Gendy, Rawa'a Yasin, Kenda Hanna, Samer Ismail, Ibrahim Al Zadjali, Saleh Al Zae'l, Badreya Ahmad, Shad Yasin, Shaimaa Sabt, Abrar Sabt

Featured Dubai locations: Dubai Media City, Jumeirah Beach Park, Burj Al Arab Beach, Rashid Hospital, Al Maktoum Hospital, Saudi German Hospital, Dubai Zoo

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In the Limelight
 
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Mohamad Koaik, Founder & CEO, Talent MENA

Mohamed Koaik is the Founder and CEO of Talent MENA, a leading communications network and casting system, based in Dubai, that provides talent to a variety of productions across the Middle East. Here, he tells us about his career in film and production, and the motives behind creating his company.

You started your career working in finance, why did you make the transition to film?
I have always been fascinated by film and grew up watching spaghetti westerns with my father. Even when I was working as a banker, I was always helping friends on their short films. In 2008 when the credit crisis had just started, I decided to take the opportunity and invest in further educating myself in something I love this time. So I enrolled in the New York Film Academy Masters Film Making Program in Los Angeles, moved there and graduated in 2010. I spent 4 years in Hollywood working on over 46 different productions, and then decided to come home to Dubai to put the knowledge and experience gained there into building the industry in our region

Why did you choose to come to Dubai and make it your base?
Though my family is from Lebanon, I was born and raised in Dubai. This is my home and the great initiatives by the Dubai government to establish DFTC, DSC and IMPZ, were a great motivation to come back here. I see the media industry growing fast in Dubai, and I believe that the Emirate has great potential to become the region's leading production destination.

Can you tell us about Talent MENA and how it came about?
Talent MENA is an online casting website for Talent & Crew. It's the first sophisticated online job site tailor made for the entertainment industry in the MENA region. It's very user friendly as we focused on that aspect at first to make it accessible to the general public. While platforms like this exist in the west, I realized that there was a need for this in the region.

What are the benefits of the Talent MENA Platform and what does this mean for artists in the UAE?
The platform gives established and aspiring artists to audition for roles in different types of productions. People who have always had a passion for acting or performing can have their chance to show their talent. In the past you'd hear about casting calls through your network or you needed to have an agent. However, with Talent MENA you have the opportunity to apply to these auditions directly to the casting directors who in return are able to see your full resumes, head shots and video reels to help make their selection and give you a chance to audition even if it's your first time! So it is a win-win scenario for all parties involved.

What are the opportunities for freelance talent in the UAE?
The industry is growing every year in the UAE and with the Sound Stages opening recently in Dubai, I know of at least 3 TV shows that have been shot here this year alone, not to mention the major film productions coming from Hollywood and Bollywood. Throughout the year, over 1000 commercials and music videos are being shot. The opportunity is great for freelance talent to land a gig, the only thing is that most of these productions are only heard of after they were shot or started shooting. With our platform Talents and Crew can have chance for the first time to apply to these auditions in advance and not miss out on the opportunity.

Can you tell us about Talent MENA and how it came about?
The Dubai Film and TV Commission offers great incentives, and Talent MENA helps to build on this by allowing producers to post their casting calls, select and schedule the applicants they would like to audition by the time they arrive. For international producers, they have their cast all lined up and prepared before they travel unlike in the past. It saves a lot of time, money and it is the most efficient way of casting your talents today. The UAE is the leading country in the MENA region when it comes to technology and automated services and it's only natural to have the latest methods of casting talents for the entertainment industry in the UAE.
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Spotlight on Locations
 
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Dubai Creek
The saltwater Dubai Creek has evolved throughout its history to accommodate expanding opportunity and economic growth in Dubai, but it's long been a critical artery for industry and transportation alike. Dotted with legendary buildings, particularly on the Deira side of the Creek, this waterway serves as a red carpet for the Deira Twin Towers, Dubai Creek Tower, Sheraton Dubai Creek, National Bank and Chamber of Commerce.

The creek's initial inlet into mainland Dubai is along the Deira Corniche and Al Ras areas of eastern Dubai and along the Al Shindagha area of western Dubai. It then progresses south-eastward through the mainland, passing through Port Saeed and Dubai Creek Park. The creek's natural ending is at the Arab Gulf, Ras Al Khor Wildlife sanctuary 14 kilometers (8.7 mi) from its origin. The traditional form of transport between the eastern and western sections of Dubai via the creek was through Abras which continue to operate in Dubai. In addition, the eastern and western sections are linked via four bridges Al Maktoum Bridge (Al Maktoum Bridge, Al Garhoud Bridge, Business Bay Crossing and Floating Bridge).
 
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Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club
Voted one of the worlds 'Top 100 Must-Play Golf Courses', Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club is a golfer's paradise in the heart of the city. The resort incorporates an 18-hole championship golf course, 9-hole Par 3 course, golf academy, six restaurants, the 225-bedroom Park Hyatt Dubai, 92 residential executive villas and a 121-berth luxury marina. Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club restaurants include Boardwalk, LakeView, QD's, Legends and Cielo and offer some of the most spectacular locations for dining in the city, with a choice of inside and outside seating. All of the restaurants offer spectacular vistas of the iconic Dubai Creek, golf course or city skyline.
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A Growing Footprint – DFTC's Participation at Industry Events
  • Cannes Film Festival – 14-25 May 2014, Cannes, France
    Cannes Film Festival takes place every year during the second fortnight of May, and is one of the most prestigious and publicised film festivals in the world. The festival is held at the Palais des Festivals et des Congres, and brings together the world's leading actors, writers directors and producers.

  • International Broadcasting Convention (IBC) – 12-16 September 2014, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
    IBC is the essential global meeting place for everyone engaged in creating, managing and delivering the future of electronic media and entertainment technology and content. Featuring an influential conference and world-class exhibition, IBC immerses professionals from 170 countries in an unrivalled experience, to connect and innovate with the companies and leaders shaping the market.

  • International Showbiz Expo (ISBE) – 21-23 October 2014, Abu Dhabi, UAE
    Jamal Al Sharif took part in a panel discussion on ‘Building the Industry’ at ISBE, the first entertainment event of its kind to be held in the region, with exhibitors ranging from studios, distributors, media outlets, cinema infrastructure and technology providers, festivals and more. ISBE provides a platform for delegates to meet and discuss opportunities for developing the media infrastructure in the region.

  • American Film Market (AFM) – 5-12 November 2014, Santa Monica, California, USA
    AFM brings together over 8,000 industry leaders from across the film and production industry, for 8 days for screenings, seminars and networking. AFM is the premiere global marketplace where decision makers in the media industry gather to make production and distribution deals, on both completed films and those in every stage of development and production, and remains the pivotal destination for independent filmmakers and business people from all over the world.

  • Industry Insider Session – stay tuned for more information


The Dubai Film and TV Commission Team
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