Twofour54 Abu Dhabi, MBC Studios and Image Nation Abu Dhabi today announced a new partnership to produce the world’s first Arabic-language soap opera ‘Inheritance’.
Under the agreement, a dedicated studio will be built for the show in Abu Dhabi which will serve as the main location for filming. twofour54 will invest directly in the production, and MBC is set to benefit from the Abu Dhabi Film Commission’s 30% rebate on production spend in the Emirate. Both parties will work closely with Image Nation Abu Dhabi on talent and script development for the project.
The show’s unique format sets it apart from other Arabic shows in the region. By definition, a soap opera is an open-ended narrative that continues with multiple story lines for years – in some cases, decades. At present, while there are many Arabic drama series, none are scheduled to run indefinitely.
Anchoring a long-term production in the UAE will have a significant positive impact on Abu Dhabi’s thriving media and production industry. The soap opera is slated to shoot for more than 250 days of the year, and the production team estimate the show will generate over 200 jobs in the first year alone. ‘Inheritance’ is expected to act as a magnet, creating the demand and work that will attract new companies to Abu Dhabi to support the development of a landmark production.
H.E. Maryam Eid AlMheiri, Vice Chair of twofour54, said: “Partnering with MBC Studios and Image Nation to produce the world’s first Arab soap opera is truly a landmark moment in Arab entertainment industry and cultural history.
“Over recent years, twofour54 has worked tirelessly to enhance the film and TV industry and attract talented filmmakers, writers, and actors to consider Abu Dhabi as a filming location. It’s imperative that these talents are supported by world-class infrastructure, regulations, and services. This is what we have aimed to do at twofour54, and our work with some of the biggest global content producers – from Disney to Netflix – is testament to our thriving ecosystem.
“The creation of ‘Inheritance’ is an indication of our region’s rapidly growing media and entertainment industry and will serve as a catalyst to inspire the next generation of storytellers to create more original Arabic content.”
Peter Smith, Managing Director – MBC Studios said: “twofour54 has overseen numerous productions from all parts of the world, offering producers a unique support system and production infrastructure while also excelling in Arabic-language content. We are thrilled to have agreed to a long-term production deal – the first of its kind in the Arab world – with Her Excellency Maryam AlMheiri and her team.
“We appreciate Image Nation’s support and resources to nurture the regions talent. These soaps are very labour intensive and collectively we view this agreement as a long-term opportunity to rapidly develop aspiring production professional through extensive training of local cast, crew and writers. When it comes to producing key long-running shows in Abu Dhabi, this is only the beginning.
Ben Ross, Chief Content Officer of Image Nation Abu Dhabi,said: “This major production demonstrates the scale and ambition that Abu Dhabi’s entertainment industry has achieved. Even more importantly, a show of this scale will fuel the market’s ongoing growth by providing consistent and significant openings for talent – both in front of and behind the camera. We are honoured to be working with our longstanding partners at MBC Studios and twofour54 to bring this landmark project to life.
‘Inheritance’ was created for MBC Studios by renowned British writer and showrunner Tony Jordan. During his time on BBC 1’s long running soap EastEnders, Tony was responsible for creating some of the show’s best loved characters and planning some of the most iconic storylines in the shows history.
Tony Jordan said, “One of my long-held ambitions has been to create and help develop major drama projects outside the UK, this project is truly ground-breaking and I think we’ve created something really special”.
The development of ‘Inheritance’ is the latest milestone in twofour54’s longstanding partnership with MBC. In 2015, both parties signed a three-year agreement to grow the number of quality Arabic drama productions in Abu Dhabi and the region. This has resulted in a broad range of Arabic content, including ‘Haret El Sheikh’, ‘Hob Bila Hudood’, season one of ‘Boxing Girls’, as well as the first two seasons of critically acclaimed series ‘Al Asouf’.
Principal photography on ‘Inheritance’ will begin in December, with the first episode expected to air in the first quarter of 2020.