Middle East

Can Saudi Arabia’s AlUla rival Hollywood in filmmaking?

AlUla is renowned as the premier location among regional and international filmmakers for its captivating natural landscape, incentives and expanding infrastructure.

The amazing range of services on this site depicts an inevitable comparison with facilities offered in Hollywood and other production hotspots around the world.

In 2020, the Royal Commission of AlUla established FilmAlUla to attract and support international film and television production companies. The organization is headed by Stephen Strachan, a film commissioner who is a veteran of British industry and a respected producer in the Middle East and North Africa.

Tawfik Al-Zaidi, the director of the next movie “Nora”, recognizes the potential of this place. He wrote the story of the film in 2015, drawing from his personal experience as a struggling artist in the early 2000s before the cinema opened in the kingdom.

“Since then (2015), I’ve always wanted to make a movie in Arura,” said Al Zaidi, a Medina native who has been visiting Alura since the age of nine.

The film tells the story of a girl looking for her voice and an artist looking for his passion, Al Zaidi told Arab News.

Saudi Arabia’s first UNESCO World Heritage-listed Hegra home, Alura has provided the perfect backdrop for several films over the past year. The horror film Cello, written by Turchial Sheikh, president of Saudi Arabia’s General Entertainment Department, and Cherry, directed by Anthony and Joe Russo and starring Spider-Man actor Tom Holland, are both historic films. It was taken. City.

Then came “Kandahar” starring Gerard Butler. This was the first expensive Hollywood movie to be shot extensively in Ulla.

Al Zaidi wanted to take the viewer to this magical destination where he shares his personal connections. “I’m from Medina and my family lives here, so I’m familiar with the area. I know what the mountains look like,” he said.

Al Zaidi further explained the appeal of this setting to Arab News. “Walking around Alura makes me feel like I’m walking in a museum.”

Yaqoob Al-Farhan, one of the actors in the movie, describes the character he draws as follows:

At that time, it is appropriate to tell the story of Nader in a city that Alzaidi calls “a work of art in itself”.

“You can see the mountain inscriptions, how the rocks are formed, and their colors. There is already art and when you shoot in the village the background fills with mountains. (So) Alura Is similar to the story, “Alzaidi said.

Maria Bharawi, a 16-year-old actor who plays the main character Nora, said: We believe that it will develop further for filmmaking, especially thanks to its natural landscape, farms and palm trees. “

For film producer Paul Miller, Alura’s diverse and unique landscapes make it stand out.

“Within 30 minutes by car there are about 5 different deserts. Usually when we are making a movie that requires a particular landscape, you are in a few days, if not a few days, for another landscape. I’ve been driving for hours, “Miller told Arab News.

In addition to stunning scenery, Film Al Ula’s support is an important factor in attracting filmmakers to the city.

Miller said: “We have built a dedicated movie resort with permission and access, lots of logistical support, and 300 apartments for the crew. Every day, we need more and more infrastructure to make a movie.” He said. ..

“They are planning to build a ready studio from early to mid-next year. It’s so great that there are plenty of opportunities to promote it as a movie destination,” he added.

While filming at AlUla, he has seen people visit the city and learn about its beautiful scenery and how FilmAlUla can support them. With the release of “Kandahar” and “Nora,” Miller said, “People both abroad and here will really see the potential of AlUla as the destination for the best films.”

http://www.eyeofriyadh.com/news/details/can-saudi-arabia-s-alula-rival-hollywood-for-film-production Can Saudi Arabia’s AlUla rival Hollywood in filmmaking?

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