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Fri 24 Apr 2009 04:00 AM

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On location: Morocco

Digital Studio takes a look at filming locations in Morocco and the services the country provides to filmmakers.

On location: Morocco
On location: Morocco
On location: Morocco
On location: Morocco

Digital Studio takes a look at filming locations in Morocco and the services the country provides to filmmakers.

Biggest incentives:

As the leading location choice in the MENA region for big budget Hollywood films, Morocco's production infrastructure is more than adequate.

Financial incentives are also in place to lure filmmakers to the North African nation.

Tax exemptions, discounted air transport and the reduction of administrative red tape are all encouraging aspects of the country's policies on filmmaking.

General monetary savings on location fees, crew, and equipment hire are also notable.

The country's open-armed approach to film production within its borders means governmental intervention and criticism of projects is all but non-existent.

Biggest drawbacks:

As with most MENA nations, the heat can present difficulties, especially for unaccustomed Western filmmakers and their crews.

Concessions must be made by producers to avoid long daytime shoots, and provide appropriate shelter and sustenance during long summer days.

Another drawback - albeit a slight one - is that because the filmmaking industry is now so well established within Morocco, it is not as easy for filmmakers to get away with some of the more adventurous scenes they may be allowed to proceed with in other less-experienced host nations.

On the other hand, Morocco is so welcoming of filmmakers, that there isn't a whole lot the local authorities would reject. After all, it's probably nothing they haven't seen before.

Natural features:

The Moroccan landscape provides an eclectic collection of both breathtaking terrain and diverse wildlife.

Nature reserves are widespread and include a gamut of birds, mammals and plants. These reserves were initially established to correct the pattern of extinction plaguing the country's wildlife, and now provide fantastic zoological treats for filmmakers.

Among MENA nations, Morocco is undoubtedly one of the most attractive for producers seeking both remote desert locations and stunning flora and fauna.

Morocco's rocky black deserts provide a stark contrast to the stereotypical golden dunes of the Sahara, which Morocco also hosts, along with many greener locales closer to its coastal edge.

With rivers, oases, coastline, mountains and a multitude of different wildlife, producers can find the right location for almost any TVC or film within Moroccan borders.

Man-made features:

One of the primary reasons behind Morocco's popularity with international filmmakers is the contrast between modern amenities and traditional architecture that the nation offers.

Remnants of ancient and medieval civilisations remain prevalent in the area, left behind by Moors, Arabs and the Almoravid and Almohad dynasties of the Berber people. Forts and kasbahs still stand today in front of stunning desert backdrops.Cities such as Marrakesh and the Moroccan capital Rabat are becoming increasingly popular for their historic architecture, combined with ample production support and filmmaking infrastructure.

Locations within the Morocco are often utilised by filmmakers for productions that are set elsewhere in Africa or the Middle East, simply because of the diversity and availability of modern and traditional architectural designs within its cities.

A number of films have been shot in Morocco despite being set in quite different countries. Black Hawk Down for example, set in Somalia. Alexander, on the other hand, was set in South East Europe. Occasionally however, a film set in the MENA region is also filmed here.

Famous productions filmed in Morocco:

Prince of Persia: Sands of Time (in progress)

Alexander

The Hills Have Eyes

Body of Lies

Gladiator

The Mummy

Kingdom of Heaven

In the future:

While Morocco currently retains the position of leading film location services provider in the MENA region, and the number one choice for big budget international producers, other neighbouring countries are beginning to challenge for this title.

Jordan, Egypt and the UAE are all threatening Morocco's dominance in this sector, as infrastructure and governing regulations show considerable improvement.

Location services providersAli Bakkioui Elotmani - +21271555297

Ali ‘n' Productions - elmeziane@alinprod.com - +21222492828

A.S.A.P Production - infoasap@harmattan.com - +21224449443

Camino Media Presentations - +21264574775

Casablanca Film Production - +21222981991

Cinetelema - contact@cinetelema.com - +21222245222

Corail Films - corail.films@elan.net.ma - 212 7711150

Diwan Production - maach@diwanproduction.com - +21237264196

Dreamaker Productions - +212 24 42 39 73

Dune Films - infos@dunefilms.com - +212 24 43 10 92

Fred Fantun Productions - +21261341859

Houda Hechadi - +21272116384

Kasbah Films - contact@kasbah-films.com - +21239325245

Mad About Morocco - markwillenbrock@gmail.com - +212 764 68553

Magic Picture Production - khalil@magicpictures-morocco.com - +212537296786

Mark Willenbrock - +21276468553

M.E.K. Films - mehdinyc7@hotmail.com - +21268455884

Moroccan Cinema Centre - +21237798110

Morocco Film Production - +16466431420

Moroccan Press Network - newsroom@mpntv.com - +21261190120

Moroccan Productions and Services - +21222964444

Nomada - +21263 19 58 73

Reda Fakhar - me@redafakhar.com - +21261190120

RIF Film - info@rif-film.com - +492218009435

Sahara Films - +21222220158

SandLine Production - sandline@sandlineproduction.com - +212 61 07 56 87

Sofia Bennis - sofiabennis@gmail.com - +21210933650

Tangerine Cinema Services - souissijam@menara.ma - +21261290704

Vision Crystalline - 212 243 402 38