Archive for May 2019

Ouarzazate – a gateway to Morocco’s capital of film

For those who haven’t seen Game Of Thrones yet, please do. If you’re not into that particular genre, it’s no problem. This article will be relevant. Maybe not as much to those who have seen the show, but still, we’re confident that you’ll love this. Mainly because we have yet to meet someone who doesn’t love the desert.

GOT fans, you must remember the episode where the queen of dragons was taken to Qarth. She had her dragon eggs with her and she was on a quest to free the people of Qarth from the evil monarchy. That was a good moment.

Qarth, is actually not a city inhabited by warlocks and evil merchants. In reality, it’s Morocco’s prominent film studio, located in Ouarzazate. Ridley Scott’s Kingdom of Heaven in 2005 was also shot here.

On Marrakech to Fes desert tours, you’ll be taken to see the wonders of Morocco. One of them is the renowned Atlas Film Studios. You’ll gaze into the giant wall as featured on Game of Thrones, and see Qarth with your own eyes.

Foreign film and television productions have earned Morocco a whopping 33M euros last year. SarimFassi-Fihri, head of CCM ‘ CentrecinématographiqueMarocain’, regulates and promotes the film industry. Low prices and a streamlined permit system have made this location very attractive. And of course, the scenery that it offers also plays a huge role.

“I actually felt like I was on set. Seeing Qarth with my own eyes was amazing. Thanks guys!!” says Azita from Gibraltar, with her eyes radiating with joy.

Mr. Sarim says that the locations and the expertise is what makes people from abroad film in Morocco. And since Morocco is relatively close to Europe, it certainly adds a value.

South-east of Marrakech, you’ll find Ouarzazate. The former garrison town with striking Kasbahs and gorgeous mountain backdrop has been adored by directors since the early 60’s. Lawrence of Arabia was shot in Ouarzazate. David Lean chose Ouarzazate for its dramatic backdrops.

Suheil Ben Barka, a Moroccan film director and CCM director in 1986. The late king Hassan II wanted to develop the industry in Morocco. As he was a cinephile himself, with a library of films and a cinema in his palace. The latter asked Ben Barka how he could develop cinema in Morocco. Ben Barka replied with “we need an airport in Ouarzazate.”

A year later, an airport was built, with daily flights from Casablanca.

This goes to show that Morocco has been interested in film since the early days.

Tourists may stay at a hotel inside the studio when it’s available. Usually, TV crews and cast are staying there. Marrakech desert trip will take you through this gem of a studio, and you’ll stand  where film legends stood before you. See what they’ve seen, and dare we say, experience what they’ve experienced.