Neom, the burgeoning production hub in northwestern Saudi Arabia, and Telfaz11, a studio specializing in content from the Middle East that was behind this year’s Saudi Oscar submission Raven Song, have struck a partnership for the creation of up to nine TV and film projects over the next three years.
“The collaboration between Neom and Telfaz11 will accelerate the growth of Neom’s media industries ecosystem, ensuring a rich pipeline of productions, including two feature films and one series currently in development under the new arrangement,” the partners said on Thursday.
Telfaz11 recently debuted its latest theatrical feature Sattar, which has become the highest-grossing Saudi film of all time.
In addition to productions, the studio also plans to establish a physical presence at Neom’s media hub by opening an office there this year, complementing its existing offices in the Saudi capital Riyadh and Dubai. “Neom will also leverage Telfaz11’s new Neom offices to diversify its industry learning activities and multi-disciplinary talent development programs,” creating a vibrant talent pool across the value chain and strong career pathways for graduates,” the partners said.
“Our mission is to create a new world-class media hub at Neom, one that supports the region’s industry to compete and succeed globally,” said Wayne Borg, managing director of media industries, entertainment, and culture at Neom. “This partnership with Telfaz11 complements and accelerates” this effort. He added that the deal, coupled with “our evolving infrastructure, crew depth, industry learning programs, and highly competitive incentive scheme, shows we are well on our way to achieving these goals.”
Added Alaa Faden, CEO and co-founder of Telfaz11: “We couldn’t be more honored to be at the center of Neom’s next-generation media and entertainment ecosystem. Telfaz11 has consistently operated on the leading edge of innovation, from launching the first Netflix partnership in the region to leveraging our powerful social media presence. And this new partnership with NEOM is yet another milestone in that effort.”
Neom emphasized that it has provided the backdrop for 30 productions in the last 18 months, including Rupert Wyatt’s Desert Warrior, starring Anthony Mackie and Ben Kingsley; Dunki, directed by Rajkumar Hirani and starring Shahrukh Khan; Saudi feature Within Sand from director Moe Alatawi; the first regional reality TV show Million Dollar Island; and Rise of The Witches, the region’s biggest-ever budget TV show. Saudi media conglomerate MBC’s Exceptional, a 200-episode-per-year TV drama series, is set to begin shooting in Neom in July.