New Abu Dhabi Film Commission Head Talks Building Studio Space, Attracting Hollywood & Whether The UAE Could Get A Major Film Festival
EXCLUSIVE: Hans Fraikin was the founding commissioner of the Quebec Film and TV Council, where during his tenure the region saw $1.5BN in inward investment, staging shoots for titles including 300 and X-Men: Apocalypse, as well as becoming a world leader in animation.
Now, he has set up shop in Abu Dhabi in the UAE, the Middle East city which is attempting to establish itself as a global hub for film and TV shoots. To date, the location has housed shoots including 6 Underground, Sonic The Hedgehog, Mission: Impossible – Fallout (where they filmed the famous HALO stunt jump), Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and Fast & Furious 7. The location is also popular with high-profile Bollywood shoots, with its proximity to India and tax rebate system proving a draw for producers from that huge industry. Recent large scale Indian productions include Bang Bang, Baby and Tiger Zinda Hai.
Going forward, the goal is to make Abu Dhabi a consistent shooting hub for global producers. During the pandemic, the city never fully shut down shoots, with local productions continuing to film throughout. International production has been disrupted, as it has everywhere, but the hope is that the successful handling of the pandemic by the local authorities will mean international shoots can resume sooner rather than later. The city also recently staged the UFC ‘Fight Island’, with the help of the Commission, a rare global sporting event to take place during the pandemic.
Fraikin’s hire follows the merging of local majors Image Nation and TwoFour54 under Michael Garin, with the Film Commission spun out of that entity. The new commissioner walks us through the plans to make the city the go-to production hub in the region in his first interview in his new role.
DEADLINE: Tell us about your move to Abu Dhabi.
I’ve known Michael [Garin] for a long time, when he took over as CEO at the newly-merged Image Nation and TwoFour54 he called and asked me if I’d like to set up the film commission. There was no Abu Dhabi Film Commission to speak of before, so I took on the challenge.
DEADLINE: What’s the plan?
FRAIKIN: There’s a real political will for Abu Dhabi to be the leader of film and TV production, and service production, in the region. I want us to be one of the go-to international filming destinations in the next 7-8 years. We already have set up a locations department, production services department, government relationships department, and a rebate department.
DEADLINE: Production never fully shutdown in Abu Dhabi during the pandemic, how did that happen?
FRAIKIN: When COVID reared its ugly face, the government was really fast to react in terms of testing and safety measures. Abu Dhabi was one of the only places in the world where production continued. $100M of production has taken place during the last four months. The first ever Arabic soap opera, a show called Inheritance, was one of the biggest ones to film during this period – we built a dedicated studio for them and they’ve shot 144 episodes already, 108 of which have been aired. They had mandatory testing for cast and crew, daily sanitization, etc. It was regimented.
DEADLINE: Are there plans to increase shooting capacity?
FRAIKIN: Part of the strategy is also to build the industry here. That includes infrastructure and crew. For infrastructure, we’re going to build a studio city with sound stages, warehouses and production offices. It’s going to be big and impressive, as we tend to do things here. We’re still looking for partners for design, construction and financing, and we’re talking to people from various parts of the world.
We are also looking to build the crew base. I have added a 5% top up on the rebate for locally hired crew and talent, if you hire someone that is residing in the city you get that bonus on top of the 30% rebate that already exists. We’re also putting together a visa program for creative workers, which is a fast track visa for anybody from overseas with experience and talent who wishes to work in Abu Dhabi. We need them, we already have a couple of dozen projects in our pipeline. I did this in Montreal for VFX and gaming – one of the challenges was we didn’t have the artists and compositors so we put together a program for workers from France, Los Angeles, South Korea, and we’re doing the same thing here.
DEADLINE: What’s the timeframe for the studio city?
FRAIKIN: We’re looking to get underway within the calendar year, and if everything goes according to plan we would have our first two 20,000 foot soundstage in less than a year, with warehouses and offices.
DEADLINE: And what’s the plan to attract skilled crew to Abu Dhabi?
FRAIKIN: Local means residing here, so the incentive doesn’t apply to just Emirati crew. The creative visa is for anybody that’s considered an expert in their field, we can fast track them to move here. And it’s a great place to live.
DEADLINE: What’s on the upcoming production slate?
FRAIKIN: It’s a mix of Hollywood, Bollywood and regional productions.
DEADLINE: Any international productions gearing up?
FRAIKIN: A couple before the end of the year, but I can’t tell you just yet. We also had the UFC ‘Fight Island’, which took place in Abu Dhabi. Who would’ve ever thought that could take place during COVID? It was a Herculean task to organize with world lockdowns and travel restrictions, but they did it. “Fight Island will go down in the history books,” Dana White said recently.
DEADLINE: How are you working with the other Emirates?
FRAIKIN: It’s the same as the relationship between Canada and the U.S.. The Dubai Film Commission is a separate entity. We do collaborate. Mission Impossible shot in both Dubai and Abu Dhabi. We just finished a film called The Ambush, that was an Abu Dhabi production but we used other locations in the Emirates. Abu Dhabi is the centre of it but the aim has been to build the industry in the UAE.
DEADLINE: The region lost the Dubai Film Festival after 2017, and the Abu Dhabi Film Festival was scrapped after 2015 – are there any thoughts about creating a new event?
FRAIKIN: Film festivals and markets can serve their purpose, but maybe not for what we’re developing. The crew and talent already know about our jurisdiction. It’s a huge investment to run a festival and a market, it’s too premature to talk about re-starting the festival in Abu Dhabi.
Bombardier Aviation and the International EPD® System, an environmental declaration program based in Sweden, announced today a first in business aviation with the publication of the Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) for Bombardier’s Global 7500 jet.
The Global 7500 aircraft EPD is third-party verified to the highest international ISO standards1. It discloses fully transparent environmental information about the product’s life cycle, such as CO2 emissions, noise, water consumption and other key environmental impact indicators. Bombardier has committed to communicating the environmental performance of all new aircraft programs through EPDs.
The publication of the Global 7500 aircraft EPD is an important milestone in the advancement of Bombardier Aviation’s overarching environmental sustainability strategy, which encompasses increasing the adoption of Sustainable Alternative Fuels (SAF), reducing CO2 footprint, enhancing aircraft recyclability, and sustainably sourcing, all as a part of its Eco-Design approach and in support of industry-wide carbon reduction goals.
“We are proud to collaborate with Bombardier in its effort to provide full transparency about the environmental performance of its Global 7500 jet from a life cycle perspective. With the publication of the first business jet EPD in our system, Bombardier is striving to provide customers and stakeholders with the full environmental picture. The EPD is third-party verified and complies with the globally accepted ISO standards – ISO 14025 and related – for type III environmental declarations,” said Sebastiaan Stiller, Director Business, The International EPD® System.
The Bombardier Eco-Design team applied its product innovation life cycle process throughout the development of the Global 7500 aircraft to minimize the jet’s impact on the environment, from the design and manufacture of the aircraft to end-of-life. The Global 7500 aircraft is the first business jet conceived with this approach. The Global 7500 aircraft EPD is also the outcome of years of collaboration with Bombardier’s supply chain, a rigorous analysis from the program’s outset and robust certification process completed throughout 2019.
“The EPD for the Global 7500 business jet embodies Bombardier’s commitment both to the environment and to the sustainable advancement of the aviation industry,” said David Coleal, President, Bombardier Aviation. “We are thrilled to offer a comprehensive environmental footprint and performance overview of the Global 7500 aircraft throughout its life cycle. By making this information available to our stakeholders, including operators, this EPD supports the business aviation industry’s broader approach to fight climate change through clear, transparent goals and associated multipronged plans that encompass technology and sustainable fuels.”
Bombardier designed the state-of-the-art Global 7500 business jet using best-in-class technologies. The Global 7500 aircraft is powered by the all-new GE Passport engine, incorporating advanced technologies and materials to improve durability, deliver a lower noise output and improved fuel consumption. Additionally, its new high-speed transonic wing cuts down on drag, reduces fuel burn, and lowers emissions, offering a smooth ride, as well as excellent short-field and high-speed performance.
Since its entry-into-service, the Global 7500 business jet has proven itself to be the highest-performing aircraft in the industry. With unmatched speed and range capabilities, the Global 7500 aircraft continues to blaze the trail in this new market segment, setting the bar for unprecedented excellence and performance in the world of business aviation. Winner of the 2019 Aviation Week Grand Laureate Award, and recipient of the 2019 Robb Report Best of the Best Business Jet of the Year Award and the 2018 Red Dot Award for Product Design, the Global 7500 aircraft offers Bombardier’s signature smooth ride and a spaciousness that is unique among business jets, setting the benchmark for the most exceptional cabin interior.
About the International EPD® System
The International EPD® System is a program for voluntary and transparent communication of the life cycle environmental impact of goods and services. With more than 15 years of experience, and a library consisting of certified environmental product declarations from 31 countries, EPD serves as a credible choice for B2B and B2C communication based on ISO 14025 and other international standards. The program operator of the International EPD® System is EPD International AB, registered in Sweden.
With nearly 60,000 employees across two business segments, Bombardier is a global leader in the transportation industry, creating innovative and game-changing planes and trains. Our products and services provide world-class transportation experiences that set new standards in passenger comfort, energy efficiency, reliability and safety.
Headquartered in Montréal, Canada, Bombardier has production and engineering sites in over 25 countries across the segments of Aviation and Transportation. Bombardier shares are traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange (BBD). In the fiscal year ended December 31, 2019, Bombardier posted revenues of $15.8 billion. News and information are available at bombardier.com or follow us on Twitter @Bombardier.
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23 June 2020, Abu Dhabi, UAE: United Eastern Medical Services (UEMedical) has announced the expansion of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Danat Al Emarat Hospital for Women & Children in Abu Dhabi. The 20 million AED expansion included the addition of 18 advanced beds in accordance with the highest international specifications, of which 11 beds are categorized as level III. The new total available beds now have increased to 33 beds, which makes the unit one of the largest neonatal intensive care units in Abu Dhabi.
Mariano Gonzalez, CEO of Danat Al Emarat Hospital for Women & Children stated, “this expansion comes under the framework of the hospital’s ongoing plans to meet the increased demand for premature newborns intensive care. This is in light of the significant increase of births at the hospital, as well as receiving referred patients from other hospitals who need admission to NICU. The unit is advanced and fully equipped to receive complex cases and extremely premature births who need intensive care. Proudly, the smallest newborn born at 23 weeks of pregnancy was discharged from Danat Al Emarat after 4 months of staying at the NICU, which is certified by Department of Health Abu Dhabi as level III NICU.”
He added that the hospital’s specialized fetal medicine department as well as the subspecialties in pediatrics including pediatric cardiology and pediatric surgery led by an elite group of qualified pediatricians and surgeons ensures the capabilities of the hospital in providing quality care to sick and extremely premature babies.
Dr. Sadoon Sami Sadoon, Chief Medical Officer, Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Minimally Invasive Surgery Consultant at Danat Al Emarat said, “all new beds have been verified and certified by the Department of Health Abu Dhabi. With this expansion, we have recruited additional physicians and specialized nurses. We now have within our team over 10 consultants and specialists in neonatology and over 40 NICU nurses. Premature babies, born before the 37 weeks of pregnancy, are usually smaller in weight, and may require breathing and nutrition support depending on their gestation age. Out of the 18,500 newborns welcomed at Danat Al Emarat since its opening in October 2015, around 1800 were premature and were admitted to our NICU. Other newborns were born after 37 of gestation but still required admission to NICU for other medical reasons.”
Dr. Iviano Ossuetta, Head of Neonatology at Danat Al Emarat Hospital emphasized on the importance of the expansion. He said, “this comes as a result of the success we have witnessed in the past 5 years and the increased demand for complex and advanced neonatal services. As a result of our positive clinical outcomes, the hospital is now considered a referral center for high risk pregnancies and neonatal intensive care, including sick newborns requiring complex surgical intervention or pediatric subspecialty care such as neonatal cardiology for complex congenital heart disease.”
“The new expansion brought in additional advanced technologies and some of the latest smart services that are used worldwide in caring for premature and/or sick babies. In our NICU, we have treated over 100 premature babies born before completing 30 weeks of pregnancy. Half of these babies were born less than 28 weeks into the pregnancy and more than 25 of them were less than 26 weeks,” Dr. Ossuetta concluded.
CAE OneWorld 2020 (cae.com/caeoneworld2020) will be available online starting on July 8th and is free to all attendees who register (caeoneworld2020.com/registration/).
“The impacts of COVID-19 have been far-reaching, and that includes the traditional interaction we have with customers and industry partners at global tradeshows and events around the world,” said Heidi Wood, interim Group President, Defence and Security, CAE. “Despite the turmoil caused by the pandemic, we have persisted in supporting our military customers, come up with alternative training approaches, and continued development of new products and digital technologies. The CAE OneWorld virtual conference and tradeshow is our opportunity to reconnect with our stakeholders by delivering virtual presentations, demonstrations and insights that should prove interesting and informative.”
CAE OneWorld 2020 will include the following conference presentations:
In addition, CAE OneWorld will feature a discussion with CAE Defence & Security executive leadership that includes Heidi Wood, interim Group President, Defence and Security; Ray Duquette, President and General Manager, CAE USA; and Marc-Olivier Sabourin, Vice President and General Manager – International.
The CAE OneWorld virtual tradeshow will also include demonstrations on a range of products and capabilities offered by CAE. These demonstrations will include either a narrated walkthrough or introductory video from one of CAE’s subject matter experts followed by additional presentation and video content. The product and capability areas featured will be:
Finally, ahead of the CAE OneWorld virtual conference and tradeshow, leaders from each of CAE’s business units will participate in a podcast titled: COVID-19 and new perspectives on training – thoughts from CAE leadership in Civil Aviation, Defence and Healthcare. The podcast can be heard beginning on June 29th here: cae.com/cae-defence-security-podcast and will also be available as part of CAE OneWorld 2020 on July 8th.
Team Invictus brings together programmatic and operational expertise to deliver a transformational, affordable scout aircraft to soldiers, the Bell 360 Invictus
Fort Worth, Texas (June 4, 2020) – Bell Textron Inc., a Textron Inc. (NYSE: TXT) company, has announced agreements with nine premier aerospace industry leaders to form Team Invictus. The companies are producing the Bell 360 Invictus prototype submission as part of the U.S. Army’s Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) program. Each industry partner brings unique experience and technological expertise to provide a low-risk path for the Army’s acquisition of a lethal, affordable rotorcraft with advanced mission systems to modernize aviation for multi-domain operations (MDO).
“Team Invictus is working together to show how cutting-edge technology will give soldiers the ability to confidently operate in the complex and contested battlespace of multi-domain operations,” said Chris Gehler, vice president and program director for FARA at Bell. “Future Vertical Lift is critical for the Army’s ability to win in multi-domain operations with FARA defeating defensive layers and the Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA) exploiting opened areas to achieve operational objectives.”
Team members are working closely together to deliver the Bell 360 Invictus prototype using a configuration that emphasizes operational availability, sustainability, and maintainability. The members of Team Invictus include:
Team Invictus is applying digital design and manufacturing technologies, including maintenance as part of the design process, and use of emerging commercial practices to bring a holistic view of digital models, processing and analysis to reduce lifecycle maintenance and servicing requirements—and thus reducing sustainment costs.
“Each team member brings a capability that is vital to the success of the Bell 360 and we are honored to have proven, capable, and well-respected industry partners on Team Invictus,” stated Gehler. “This is an outstanding industry team, and we are working diligently to produce a FARA weapon system that is operationally effective and affordably sustainable, as well as complementary and in many ways common to the FLRAA program.”
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General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) and L3Harris Technologies have enhanced the intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities of MQ-9 Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS).
The MQ-9 Predator B series of RPAS has been integrated with WESCAM MX-20 Electro-optical / infrared (EO/IR) system.
This integration will provide advanced targeting capability to the aircraft.
Additionally, the WESCAM MX-20 EO/IR system will support multiple Precision Guided Munitions (PGM) missions.
On 18 February, a series of test flights were conducted to showcase the advanced ISR capabilities such as locate and track targets at long stand-off ranges.
GA-ASI CEO Linden Blue said: “The GA-ASI and L3Harris teams have worked closely over the past year to ensure the successful integration of this sophisticated system. “This is a significant milestone and we look forward to the enduring relationship and growing opportunities with L3Harris WESCAM.”
The WESCAM MX-20 features multi-spectral high-sensitivity sensors. These can be operated during day, low-light and night missions.
The system also functions from ultra-high altitudes, with skillful detection and accurate recognition capabilities.
L3Harris WESCAM general manager Jacques Comtois said: “L3Harris is proud to partner with GA-ASI to deliver sophisticated technologies for persistent surveillance missions and evolving battlefields. Being a Team SkyGuardian partner allows us to support our technology’s modular growth path with unprecedented levels of innovation and business opportunities globally for leading unmanned aircraft system programmes.”
In May last year, the two companies integrated the same technology system onto SkyGuardian RPAS. The integration was proved effective following tests conducted in adverse weather conditions in Canada.
CBC Gold Member, Concorde Corodex Group is honored with Silver Award Category in the Construction Sector. Concorde Technical, part of Concorde - Corodex Group is honored with the prestigious win of the Sheikh Khalifa Excellence Award by the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
20 January 2020, Abu Dhabi: Mohammed Bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Sciences (MBRU) in Dubai signed today a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with United Eastern Medical Services (UEMedical) in Abu Dhabi, the parent organization of Danat Al Emarat Hospital for Women & Children, HealthPlus Network of Specialty Centers and Moorfields Eye Hospital Abu Dhabi. The MOU aims to train students from the College of Medicine in the group’s hospitals and different centers, as well as allow for collaborations in different educational programs, and conduct specialized scientific research, organize scientific conferences and exchange experiences, and provide consultations in the academic and medical fields.
The MOU was signed by Dr. Amer Sharif, Vice Chancellor of MBRU and Mr. Mariano Gonzalez, CEO of Danat Al Emarat Hospital at MBRU’s campus in Dubai, in the presence of Mr. Majd Abu Zant, COO of UEMedical and CEO of HealthPlus Network of Specialty Centers, Professor Alawi Alsheikh-Ali, Provost, Dean of the College of Medicine- MBRU, in addition to a number of senior officials from both parties.
Dr. Amer Sharif said, “We’re delighted to partner with United Eastern Medical and broaden our circle of healthcare partners in the UAE. This partnership will support elevating the delivery of medical education in the country through research collaborations, continuing professional development opportunities, and enhancing clinical training for our medical students and future residents and fellows. Our philosophy, at MBRU, is to teach our students to be professional communicators, health advocates, collaborators and leaders; and we believe that such partnerships enable us to create medical experts who demonstrate these characteristics. We look forward to this collaboration and to having our medical students train and apply what they have learned at Danat Al Emarat Hospital, HealthPlus Specialty Centers and Moorfields Eye Hospital Abu Dhabi, we’re sure they will be received well. We hope that this MoU will pave the way to a successful long-term partnership that’ll ultimately serve our community.”
Mr. Mariano Gonzalez stated, “Our MOU will facilitate training programs at the group’s facilities, including Danat Al Emarat Hospital, where we have clinical affiliations with international hospitals such as SickKids Hospital in Canada and University College London Hospitals (UCLH). This will help students to learn from numerous leading physicians during their training programs especially in Obstetrics & Gynecology, Surgery, Pediatrics, Neonatology and Internal Medicine. We are indeed confident of the caliber of our physicians and healthcare professionals who will share their extensive experiences with the younger generation.”
Mr. Majd Abu Zant expressed his gratitude after signing the MOU with MBRU, “Besides our inpatient and outpatient facilities, the medical simulation center, multidisciplinary laboratories, medical library, research and academic capabilities at the University will be utilized to enhance our joint training program.”
“UEMedical aims to deliver world class medical services through its various Centers of Excellence, underpinned by our strong medical education and research framework. The group previously signed MOUs with a number of leading universities and colleges to train students in nursing, pharmacy, radiology and laboratory specialties. Our MOU with MBRU is considered the first for medical college students as we take part in preparing our future generation of physicians. The students will have access to advanced technologies and internationally accredited systems at our facilities within multiple specialties such as endocrinology, fertility and IVF as well as ophthalmology,” Mr. Majd added.
Dr. Sadoon Sami Sadoon, Chief Medical Officer at Danat Al Emarat said, “The first batch of students will be trained at Danat Al Emarat Hospital, HealthPlus Centers and Moorfields Eye Hospital Abu Dhabi during this year.”
“Department of Health Abu Dhabi (DoH) has previously accredited Danat Al Emarat Hospital, HealthPlus and Moorfields Eye Hospital Abu Dhabi as research centers, positioning the group as one of few leading academic and research centers in UAE. Our clinicians are conducting extensive research and studies that will be published in international journals, and will be working closely with MBRU,” Dr. Sadoon concluded.
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