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Sat 2 Sep 2006 04:00 AM

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Studio City aims for celebrity status in the Dubailand sand

Set to be a one-stop shop for film, music and TV production in the region, Dubai Studio City is under construction in the Dubailand mega development. Project director, Jamal Al Sharif, tells CW how the project is aiming to achieve global recognition.

|~|135int200.gif|~|Construction work on Dubai Studio City has already begun. The US $108.9 million first phase is expected to be ready by the first quarter of 2007; the second and third phases are expected to be finished in late 2007 or early 2008.|~|What are the individual elements that will make up Dubai Studio City?

Launched in February 2005, Dubai Studio City (DSC)
will offer a complete technical and community infrastructure catering for the film, TV and music production industries. It will be built on a total area of 6.7 million m2 within Dubailand.

The development will feature pre-built studios, sound stages, workshops and stage areas, a broadcast centre housing offices and post-production studios, and a business centre for freelancers.

The cluster will also house a film academy, location approval services, office spaces, entertainment and retail spaces,
and hotels and residential facilities to accommodate crews and casts.

At the heart of DSC will be the Village Centre, the public focus of the development. It will have restaurants, retail outlets, movie theatres, an IMAX theatre, black-box performance theatres and two outdoor amphitheatres (one 3,500-seater and one 1,500-seater).

There will also be a large indoor amphitheatre seating 10,000 people, as well as two hotels, all within a landscaped park setting. The huge theatre capacity created by DSC is expected to make it the city’s premier entertainment hub.

What stage is construction now at?

Construction work has already started and the first phase is expected to be ready by the first quarter of 2007, the total value for which is US $108.9 million (AED400 million).

The second phase will include commercial buildings with small studios and screening rooms for small and medium business, plus a freelance area and a business centre. Phase three will consist of sound stages and warehouses.

Who is involved in the construction process at the moment?

Local consultants involved in the project include HOK (master planner for phase one), Maunsell, Al Hashemi and Cansult.
International consultants include Bastien and Associates from the US, and Broadcast International Design, which is also US-based. The main contractor on the project is Dubai Civil Engineering.

When is the overall completion date for the project?

It will be completed in phases, with 25% set to be finished in early 2007 and 25% at the end of 2007. But the overall project is due to be completed by the end of 2007 and early 2008.

What type of companies is the development aimed at?

DSC aims to attract a large cluster of companies from across the industry. These include production companies, support service providers offering production and post-production facilities, animation studios and services such as dubbing, makeup, costume designing, stage designing and building, casting, as well as laboratory facilities.

The infrastructure for the first phase of the project will include 20 boutique studios, which will be convenient for production companies and broadcasters that are seeking an independent street address.

How will the development cope with a such a potentially vast number of temporary workers within DSC?

DSC will provide a single window for applying for production permits and visas. A fast-track immigration process will enable crews to get visas quickly. This service will allow companies to recruit talent easily.

In addition, flexible labour laws will ensure that the industry’s needs for part-time and temporary requirements are met.

What does this project mean for Dubai and the wider region?

DSC aims to tap into the rapid growth of the film industry in Europe, the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent. We are seeking to develop within DSC the kind of unique environment and infrastructure that the leading film studios in the world are known for.

The project seeks to create a regional hub for film, broadcast and music production, and to develop the local talent via a film and TV academy in the zone. It also aims to use Dubai’s potential as a base for such production.||**||

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