Hollywood’s Favorite Destination

Diving into how Morocco became a well-known location for filming famous movies and TV shows

From sunny beaches and picturesque cities with narrow streets and hectic markets with local tradesmen, spices and snake charmers to snow-capped mountain tops and deserts, there isn’t much that can’t be filmed in Morocco. Marrakech, Essaouira, Rabat and Casablanca all attract attention from productions ranging from feature-length films to big budget TV dramas and documentaries.

Morocco – A modern country that keeps its traditions alive

Morocco offers solutions to Hollywood studios that wish to shoot their films in exotic destinations. A big part of this is because the cities keep the old traditions alive. The souks (markets) are a living example of colorful orientalism which function as they always have. Morocco is a modern country that preserves their culture that is seen in folklore, cuisine and architecture. It isn’t only something to show off to tourists, its also a way of living.

The Marrakech International Film Festival was created in 2001 by His Majesty King Mohammed VI to promote and develop the art of cinema and the film industry in Morocco

There were many movies that were filmed in Morocco, starting with the Winner of the 2000 Academy Award for Best Picture, Ridley Scott’s Gladiator. Early scenes of the hero’s captivity, gladiatorial training, and first combat were filmed at studios in Ouarzazate, a desert that’s a three hour drive from Marrakech. The Bourne Ultimatum filmed its famous chase scene of Jason Bourne escaping through the narrow streets of Tangier. The city of Tangier was also inspiring for Christopher Nolan, filming a scene for the movie Inception in the cities Old Souk. Christopher McQuarrie’s Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation was partly filmed in Rabat & Casablanca, as well as areas near Marrakech.

The movie Mosul used the city of Marrakech to recreate the city of Mosul that’s originally in Iraq. This is not the only production that used Morocco to recreate places that aren’t actually in the country. In the movie Spy Game with Brad Pitt Casablanca is used to actually represent Beirut. This is the case because Morocco offers freedom to film makers, therefore it is a very convenient destination for film crews to film there and even recreate other spots that may be similar to Morocco’s landscapes.

The movie Man in Black: International was also filmed a couple years ago in Marrakech and in the Sahara Desert near Merzouga as well. Marrakech was also the place of filming for Alfred Hitchcock’s movie The man who knew too much, Sex and the City 2, Babel, Alexander and many, many more.

Marrakech International Film Festival

While we’re talking about Marrakech, it’s important to mention that it is also the perfect place for cinephiles all over the world, as it’s the place where the Marrakech International Film Festival is being held every year. The festival was created in 2001 by His Majesty King Mohammed VI to promote and develop the art of cinema and the film industry in Morocco.

Today, after more than twenty years, the Festival is a place of expression and discovery that takes up the challenges of diversity, exchange and enrichment. It is also an opportunity for Morocco to welcome and pay tribute to great personalities of the world of film. The event attracts a large audience, both national and international, and benefits from a strong reputation and its prestigious image.

One of the most famous TV shows to ever be filmed was the HBOs Game of Thrones, filmed in Essaouira

The TV Series

Last but not least, as mentioned before, Morocco also had a big number of TV Shows that were filmed in the country. One of the most famous TV shows to ever be filmed was the HBOs Game of Thrones. It was specifically filmed in Essaouira, thanks to its surreal and fantasy-like scenery that gave the shows production a perfect spot for a story that mostly relies on medieval aesthetics. Besides Game of Thrones, Morocco hosted filming for others such as Napoleon, Celebrity Race Across the World, The Time in Between and others.

Morocco offers so much beautiful landscapes and scenery that it comes as no surprise that many filmmakers and artists found so much inspiration in it. Being unique, exotic and welcoming to everyone Morocco absolutely deserves its place as one of the Hollywood’s favorite and frequent filming spots.

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