NEOM’s smart city is all about cultivating the future of living and industry – and the city’s media hub is expected to be abuzz with the best of Saudi Arabia’s creative talents. Moreover, it will be an economic contributor to the kingdom, as stated by project’s senior executives. Wayne Borg, Managing Director of Media & Entertainment at NEOM stated, “For all of the great infrastructure we will have and for all of the great companies we will attract, fundamentally the success of this proposition will rest on our ability to develop that talent pool.”
Still in its initial stages, the media hub will be an integral part of the NEOM smart city and is a concept that is preparing itself to compete with some of the world’s biggest and best creative epicenters, whilst also nurturing and developing local Saudi talent. Borg also added, “Initially we will bring talent in, we want knowledge transfer, we want the young people to learn from the best at a global standard. We need to develop that talent pool here.
The media hub will also be a place for education and empowerment as young people interested in the creative sectors will be offered opportunities to gain work experience with well-established filmmakers and producers for example.
“We should be there to provide every opportunity for young Saudis who want to pursue their careers who may not have had the opportunity in the past or would have had to go overseas. Now they can stay here and do it in the Kingdom and work with the world’s best,” said Wayne Borg.
He continued, “For a long time young people were nervous to pursue their passion in the industry here because there wasn’t an industry here so they couldn’t see career pathways and secure employment. We are changing that and we are showing that through this pipeline of productions you can develop your career, you can work in a global industry, you can work with the best people and learn and pursue your passion and have a successful career.”
In line with Saudi Vision 2030, the media hub will be a melting pot for the film production, gaming and digital publishing sectors. It will not only contribute to the Saudi film industry via international partnerships and the marketing and promotion of Saudi films and productions, but it will also launch initiatives in industry learning and opportunities for Saudi nationals through a number of collaborations, such as the UK’s National Film and Television school. NEOM will grant entry-level certificate courses in a variety of disciplines for those who want to figure out their best talents and interests within the industry, as Borg stated, “Once they have received the certificates we are attaching those students to the productions so that they start to gain credible experience with world-renowned production crews and hopefully they can start to build up their portfolio and their CV.”
NEOM’s media hub will also offer a two-year master’s program for students who are looking to pursue specialist areas in the film industry.