Actress Mayssa Maghrebi goes behind the lens in Abu Dhabi for new Arabic film ‘Wojooh Moharama’

24 April 2018

Popular Arabic actress Mayssa Maghrebi will be appearing both in front of the camera and behind it in new movie ‘Wojooh Moharama’, which is being filmed with the support of twofour54 Abu Dhabi, the latest major Arabic production to be shot in the Emirate.

Mayssa is directing and starring in the film, which is currently shooting on the twofour54 backlot in KIZAD. ‘Wojooh Moharama’ also stars legendary actress Toha as well as a number of actors from Saudi Arabia. The story focusses on three different generations of people in Riyadh, starting in the 1970’s moving on to the 1980’s and 2000’s and then leads to the present day.

twofour54 provided production services, post production facilities as well as the use of the award-winning backlot at the Khalifa Industrial Zone (KIZAD). The production’s crew consists of some 60 media professionals, many of whom are from Abu Dhabi’s talented pool of freelancers.

H.E. Maryam Eid AlMheiri, CEO of Media Zone Authority – Abu Dhabi and twofour54, said: “Our vision is for Abu Dhabi to be the ‘Capital for content creators’ and a vital part of that goal is supporting the production of quality Arabic content, not only for producers from the region but for creatives from across the Arab world.

“The productions made here in Abu Dhabi are helping Arabic filmmakers tell the stories of our region to the world. They opening a window into our incredible culture and people.

“So, I’m delighted that the cast and crew of ‘Wojooh Moharama’ are making use of the full range of our world-class production services, including the backlot.

Abu Dhabi has seen a surge in interest as a location for Arabic dramas in recent years with more than 20 filming in the Emirate since 2013. Last year alone saw more than 10 Arabic TV productions filmed in Abu Dhabi.

The backlot at KIZAD includes three sets, as well as facilities for costume, make up and dressing rooms, plus a canteen and production offices. It has been used for numerous Arabic dramas, including popular TV series ‘Al Asouf’, as well as major movies, such as ‘Tiger Zinda Hai’, one of the biggest Bollywood hits of all time.

It forms part of the supportive ecosystem that has been built for film and TV production over the past decade in Abu Dhabi, attracting investment, creating jobs, and ensuring the transfer of knowledge and expertise as the Emirate looks to diversify its economy as per Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030.

Earlier this year, the success was recognised when twofour54 won ‘Studio of the Year’ for the Middle East at the Digital Studio Awards for the second year in a row and for a fourth time overall.

Emirati-Moroccan actress Mayssa Maghrebi, who produced the first GCC feature length film in 2005 ‘Tarab Fashion’, is also well-known for her roles in a number of productions. She said: “We’re delighted to be making this film in Abu Dhabi. The support we’ve received from Her Excellency Maryam Al Mheiri and the team at twofour54 was integral to the decision to shoot the movie in the Emirate.

“There is increasing demand for quality Arabic content across the MENA region and beyond and we hope that this is the start of an ongoing partnership with twofour54.”

‘Wojooh Moharama’ is the latest film to be shot in the Emirate. Among the major studios and production companies that have embraced Abu Dhabi as a location in recent years are Universal Pictures with ‘Furious 7’, Disney with ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’, Yash Raj Films with ‘Tiger Zinda Hai’, and Paramount Pictures with ‘Mission: Impossible – Fallout’.

And, earlier this year, plans were revealed to expand film and TV productions facilities even further with the development of twofour54’s Studio City at Mina Zayed, a 300,000sqm backlot and studio complex that is under development. It will feature an outdoor film set, a permanent backlot and studios for productions of all sizes, from small local projects to Hollywood and Bollywood blockbusters.

This will be complemented by twofour54’s move to a new home on Yas Island from 2020. Already, twofour54 is home to more than 470 media firms from around the world, including some of the industry’s biggest names, such as CNN, Ubisoft, and Apple. The zone is also home to some 650 freelancers.

The new home will be part of the AED 12 billion Yas Bay development taking shape on the southern end of Yas Island and will increase the capacity of the free zone by 30% with the option to expand even further by 2030. The built-for-purpose home will feature state-of-the-art offices, TV studios, retail spaces, and recreation facilities.