Saudi Arabia’s Neom and leading local production company Telfaz11 have announced a partnership that will see up to nine TV and film productions filming at the media hub over the next three years.
Two feature films and one series are currently in development under the new arrangement.
Telfaz11’s comedy drama Sattar, set in the world of freestyle wrestling, became the highest-grossing Saudi film of all time following its release in December 2022. The company struck an eight-picture deal with Netflix in 2020.
Telfaz11 also plans to establish a physical presence at Neom by opening offices this year at the media hub, complementing its existing offices in Riyadh and Dubai.
Neom, a $500bn megacity being built in northwest Saudi Arabia, is working to establish itself as production destination and industry hub for the Middle East and North Africa region with a 40%+ production cash rebate incentive.
Neom 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; local Saudi feature Within Sand directed by Moe Alatawi; the first regional reality TV show Million Dollar Island; and Rise Of The Witches, the region’s biggest-ever budget TV show. MBC’s Exceptional, a 200-episode-per-year TV drama series, is set to begin shooting in July.
Wayne Borg, managing director of media industries, entertainment, and culture at Neom, 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. This partnership with Telfaz11, coupled with our evolving infrastructure, crew depth, industry learning programmes, and highly competitive incentive scheme shows we are well on our way to achieving these goals.”
Alaa Faden, CEO and co-founder of Telfaz11, added: “We couldn’t be more honoured to be at the centre 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.”