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twofour54 signs partnership with Blink Studios to create world class Arabic content

Blink Studios will establish a production facility at the Abu Dhabi media zone, initially to produce the Arabic version of Driver Dan’s Story Train.

April 6, 2010 12:09 by

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, 06 April 2010: twofour54, the Abu Dhabi-based content creation community, today announced a strategic partnership with Blink Studios, one of the leading Gulf based animation studios.

Blink Studios was established to service the region’s growing need for high quality visual impact. Blink has developed a dynamic approach to TV, Motion Picture and corporate productions, with strategically engineered studios providing a fully integrated production solution including shooting for documentaries, cinema and TV Commercials, 3D walk-through animated graphics and fully-animated, television programmes.

The agreement will see Blink Studios establish a production facility at twofour54 in Abu Dhabi initially to produce the Arabic version of Driver Dan’s Story Train. Working with 3Line Media, the UK based producers of the English version of Story Train; this move by twofour54 will open up enormous opportunities to young Arabic talent.

Commenting on the partnership, Tony Orsten, CEO of twofour54 said: “Driver Dan is the perfect platform for adapting content to the Arab market. The show will not be a dubbed version of the English content, instead we will use Arabic writers to provide the story telling element, Arab animators to create content and Arab children to make up the live action component.”

Arab animators will work alongside some of the world’s leading children’s animators to create a brand new, original version of the show specifically tailored for the Arab market and the pre-school audience.

These exciting opportunities will help guarantee the long term future of the region’s animation industry. By establishing a sustainable industry base in Abu Dhabi, twofour54 will provide job opportunities in the sector and ensure skills development and knowledge transfer through internships and work experience placements.

“Our partnership with Blink is an exciting phase for twofour54 on our mission to develop a sustainable Arabic media and content industry here in the region,” added Wayne Borg, Chief Operating Officer, twofour54. “One of our key roles is to facilitate content creation in a supportive and collaborative environment. The relationship with Blink allows twofour54 to further develop new animated content in the region, working with talented Arabs to bring their ideas to both regional and international audiences”.

In order to ensure a long term sustainable presence in Abu Dhabi, Blink will commit to producing the majority of its long form animation production at its twofour54 base. Further to this, twofour54 is creating a development fund in order to collaborate with Blink to identify animated content which can be developed for the region.

Talking at the signing of the agreement, Lea Badro, Partner, Blink Studios said, “The vibrant, fast growing economy of the UAE and the Arab region has given rise to increased demand for Arabic content, particularly in children’s animation. We have recognised the need for quality programming and have developed a dynamic approach to TV, motion pictures and corporate production. Our partnership with twofour54 will further cement our leading market position and is a step in the right direction to establishing a true animation industry.”

Notes to editor
• In addition to Blink Studios, by the start of 2010 twofour54 had 60 regional and international partners developing quality media content from its Khalifa Park campus. This number will continue to grow significantly throughout 2010.
• In its first 12 months of operation, twofour54 tadreeb put over 800 media professionals, from 27 companies through 55 courses. Around 30% of these students came from outside the UAE.
• Launched at the end of September 2009, twofour54 intaj has already recruited 70 specialist staff for its five state-of the-art HD studios and 22 post production suites. It has booked more than 200 production days and produced 400 hours of TV programming.

About twofour54
twofour54 is an Abu Dhabi government initiative and an integral part of its 2030 plan, which seeks to diversify the Emirate’s economy and establish the Emirate as the cultural capital of the Middle East.

twofour54’s vision is to establish a sustainable Arabic media and entertainment content creation industry in Abu Dhabi; a regional centre of excellence which is internationally renowned. The aim is to stimulate creative and professional partnerships in the film, broadcast, digital, TV, gaming, publishing and music industries.

The company provides a collaborative and supportive ecosystem that will allow the establishment of a world-class media industry for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. The focus is on developing Arabic media and entertainment content by Arabs and for the Arab audience.

twofour54 delivers its advanced cohesive infrastructure through three key pillars: twofour54 tadreeb (the training academy), twofour54 ibtikar (innovation and support) and twofour54 intaj (state-of-the-art production facilities) supported by business enabler twofour54 tawasol (one-stop-shop).

twofour54 has already attracted several of the region and world’s largest and most influential content creation companies, including CNN, BBC, Thomson Foundation, Rotana Studios, Financial Times, Abu Dhabi Media Company, imagenation, C Sky Pictures, Thomson Reuters Foundation, Flash, PyraMedia, Getmo Arabia, Experience Media Studios and Baynounah Media Company.

Each of these partners has recognised the vast opportunity that the Arab world represents for growth and has committed significant investment and resources to business initiatives that will be led out of twofour54.

The name twofour54 is taken from Abu Dhabi’s geographical coordinates, which are latitude 24 north, longitude 54 east. This name was chosen to symbolise Abu Dhabi’s strategic position within the Middle East, which makes it the ideal location for the centre of excellence for content creation in the Arab region.

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