US-based Digital Domain Media Group (DDMG) is collaborating with twofour54 to establish a media school and purpose-built studio in Abu Dhabi, with the aim of driving development of the production industry in the Middle East.

DDMG will begin production of visual effects and animation in existing studios in twofour54 at the beginning of 2013, with plans to hire local and international staff immediately. DDMG will also develop a 150,000 square foot purpose-built studio, which is expected to be operational by the end of 2015.

The studio will create animated feature films and engage in the production of original Middle East-branded content for global audiences, as well as work on visual and 3D effects for third-party international films.

The Digital Domain Institute, modelled after Digital Domain’s school in Florida, will train students in digital media production, starting in early 2014.

Twofour54 and the Abu Dhabi Film Commission announced last week in Cannes the introduction of an incentive scheme in the form of a rebate of up to 30% of qualifying spend in Abu Dhabi.

“At first we thought this studio would focus more on original content, but we can use the 30% rebate to bring in international films,” said Digital Doman chairman and CEO Jon Textor.

Wayne Borg, deputy CEO and COO of twofour54, said: “Digital Doman represents the next great leap forward for twofour54 and Abu Dhabi – a strong move into digital production and the development of locally created feature films and TV content.”