Although movies have been a part of the entertainment scene of the Emirates for a long time, especially since the Copyright Laws were implemented, movie making itself has remained an elusive mirage.
But all that is set to change when Al Habtoor Entertainment was established late this year. Created with the aim of bringing film production to the Emirates, the new firm sees itself in the dual role of both producer and regional co-coordinator for other production houses planning to produce movies in the region.
According to the executive producer of the company, Gerry Sherard, “Al Habtoor Entertainment will offer a complete range of production and editing services. These will include everything from the hiring of equipment and location assessment to staffing, accommodation and government procedures. In effect, we will be the trouble shooters for any production, solving the problems that are often experienced on location shoots.”
The firm’s official launch came at the 196 Milan Film Festival. While at the show Sherard and general manager, Dane Earnhart, met with industry figures from around the world to discuss the advantages of Dubai as a destination for on-location shoots and pre and postproduction. A specially commissioned seven-minute video on Dubai put a dramatic emphasis on the pitch for Dubai.
According to Sherard, Milan ’96 resulted in strong interest n Dubai as a production centre. The firm is currently in active negotiations on several co-productions while also developing their own projects. The firm plans to capitalize on the potential of Dubai while also laying down the foundation for the beginnings of a future film industry here. Banking on the year round consistent weather, low labour costs, excellent global communications and no tax structure to make it attractive to production companies, Al Habtoor Entertainment believe they have a formula few locations can match. “Film companies coming to Dubai can be assured that every aspect of a production will be handled professionally to international standards,” claims Sherard.
“Where else can you find the neon glitz of Las Vegas and the cool coastline of the French Riviera in the same location?” asks Earnhart. “Quite simply, Dubai is a great place for filming.”