NEOM: From deep blue ocean and pristine beaches to lofty mountains, Neom’s unique geography and topography serves as a new epicenter for the region’s media, film and gaming production.
Over the past 18 months, Neom Media Village and Bajdah Desert Studios have supported more than two dozen productions including the $153 million movie “Desert Warrior,” directed Rupert Wyatt.
The first Saudi movie “Within Sands” was filmed at Neom by one of Kingdom’s leading producers. “It’s in competition at the Red Sea International film festival and we’re hoping it wins one of the main prizes,” said Wayne Borg, managing director for Media Industries, Entertainment and Culture at Neom, told Arab News.
“We also finished filming last week the upcoming Bollywood movie ‘Dunki,’ starring Shah Rukh Khan … and booked a 200-episode-a-year Saudi soap opera ‘Exceptional’ produced by MBC Group,” he said.
Borg said Neom’s media hubs were impressive. “We have facilities, for instance, we have four sound stages, 2,500 square meters each,” he said.
“Our studios are being built to be world-class production facilities with set production offices, construction warehouses, prop shops, wardrobe, and SFX facilities.
“Film and ancillary equipment including cameras, heavy-lift drones, telehandlers, boom lifts, scissor lifts and trackways are available on both sites.”
By the end of 2026, “Neom will have a full-fledged ecosystem” and the media hubs will be approximately 1 million square meters with “with somewhere between 45 and 50 sound stages, tenancy space, gaming, studio space, industry learning space,” said Borg.
The Kingdom has boosted producer confidence with increased incentives.
“We have a very competitive and globally attractive production incentive scheme where we offer a 40 percent plus cash rebate production incentive scheme for feature films, reality series, TV and commercials. At present, cast and crew are rolling from one production to the next,” said Borg.
“We can handle between three and four productions at any given time and are starting to build our crew depth. And we help productions and assist in terms of bureaucracy and government services to create a streamline and as efficient process as possible with a team that understands what is needed so we can make it happen on budget and on time every time.
Borg said that directors and producers wanting to use Neom should “reach out to us, to the team, either online or through our website, and leave details. And we’ll be in contact with you to set up a meeting to discuss your project, what your needs are, and how we can help bring that production to life at Neom.”
“We’re working to achieve a fully integrated media hub both physically and technologically, which will create huge opportunities. There’s been an inability for talent and creatives to come together previously and collaborate, and it is now clear that this industry thrives best in a collaborative environment. We want to give you a real red carpet, not a red tape experience.”