MBC Studios, the production arm of Middle East broadcaster MBC Group, has started offering production services to films and TV shows looking to shoot in Saudi Arabia.
Riyadh-based MBC Studios Production is already working with two non-MBC films and a Korean TV series that are considering shooting in Saudi Arabia.
Given Saudi’s nascent industry, one of the key challenges for incoming productions is sourcing local talent and navigating legal, financial and business affairs. Productions looking to film in Saudi Arabia also have to partner with a local company to access the country’s 40% rebate.
“This really is soup to nuts – everything when it comes to doing a production on the ground,” said MBC Studios managing director Christina Wayne. “MBC knows who all the local talent are and how to staff up with a crew.”
“The region is so new to making anything in production that the team at MBC is probably the most experienced,” added Wayne, citing credits such as its upcoming action film Desert Warrior. MBC Studios Production is offering production services in conjunction with Sadaf Media Productions, which is part of MBC Group.
Wayne, a former Amazon Studios exec, joined MBC Studios in February. “When I arrived, I thought, ’Why wouldn’t we be offering this service for people coming in from outside?’” Production at MBC Studios is headed up by Firas Dehni, with Maged Mohsen in charge of production services.
In terms of its own productions, MBC Studios is at Red Sea with opening film HWJN. It has just locked post-production on big-budget Anthony Mackie movie Desert Warrior, which shot in Saudi region Neom. Both are being sold internationally by AGC Studios.