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Jordan’s rise as filmmaking destination ‘great’ for country — Princess Rym

By Muath Freij - Jun 08,2019 - Last updated at Jun 09,2019

In this undated photo, ‘Aladdin’ actor Mena Massoud (right) can be seen at a shoot in Wadi Rum. HRH Princess Rym recently spoke to The Jordan Times about the film industry’s effect on Jordan during the past two decades (Photo courtesy of Disney)

AMMAN — Since His Majesty King Abdullah’s Accession to the Throne, the film industry has taken off in Jordan with more international filmmakers choosing to shoot their movies in the Kingdom.

During an interview with The Jordan Times, HRH Princess Rym Ali, managing director-interim of the Royal Film Commission (RFC) Jordan, described His Majesty King Abdullah’s support as “crucial” to the local industry.

“From the beginning, when Prince Ali established the film commission until now, we have always benefited from the support of His Majesty. He very much believes in film and in the potential of [the] film industry to help develop Jordan economically,” she said. “Thanks to him we have been able to achieve a lot.” 

Since 1957, 114 narrative feature-length films have been shot in Jordan, according to the RFC’s website.

In the last five years alone, 29 films have been shot in the Kingdom, according to the RFC, which notes that over the last 10 years, the sector has created approximately 95,000 jobs.

Jordan has also played host to a number of renowned Hollywood movies including the 1962 film “Lawrence of Arabia”, and more recently “The Martian”, “Star Wars: Episode IX” and “Aladdin”.

“Aladdin was a very good example of what can be achieved in terms of marketing for Jordan through film,” Princess Rym said, adding that the commission was conducting a study to analyse the film’s effect on tourism. 

“The fantastic thing is we are very blessed in Jordan, we have an amazing landscape of course, but we also offer amazing services, thanks to people’s efforts,” she told The Jordan Times.

Princess Rym noted that when international production companies want to film in Jordan “they look for crews that understand film language at different levels, but also they look at services, including hotels and cars for example. They want to make sure that when they bring their own crew they are in a place where they are comfortable working.” 

The RFC has established a number of centres all over the Kingdom with the aim of training Jordanians and boosting the film industry.

“The beauty of the film industry is that it covers so many sectors: from the drivers to the makeup artists to the costumes, in addition to the actual technical crews who are specialised in film, so that is why it is great for the country,” she added. 

The princess also highlighted a “cash rebate” incentive aimed at attracting filmmakers.

“Two years ago the cash rebate programme was probably one of the last elements added to really make us competitive in terms of film locations.,” she said.

However, Princess Rym stressed that the commission also seeks to “help our local film industry and Arab films generally speaking”.

“There is an Incentive Committee on the board of the Royal Film Commission, which is now examining how we can make this work to encourage more local productions as well and give them a little bit of support,” she added. 

The princess also noted the role filmmaking can play in tourism and a recent decision to create a filming zone in Wadi Rum.

“Some people complained about the situation. In any country, there can be tensions. So we need to balance between touristic needs, economic needs, environmental needs and in this area, also filming needs. And we have to make it work for everybody,” she said.

As an example, she noted that 75 per cent of tourists who go to New Zealand have seen one of the Lord of the Rings films.

Recent movies shot in Jordan  



"Goat Days" — Directed by Blessy Thomas (India)

"Daniel" — Directed by Niels Oplev (Denmark)

"Shihana" — Directed by Khaled Elhagar (KSA)

"Dune" — Directed by Denis Villeneuve (USA)



"Star Wars: Episode IX" — Directed by J.J. Abrams (USA)

"Sergio" — Directed by Greg Barker (USA)

"Salma's House — Directed by Hanadi Elyan (Jordan)

"Escape from Raqqa" — Directed by Emmanuel Hamon (France)



"Brothers" — Directed by Hanro Smitsman (Netherlands)

"The Apparition" – Directed by Xavier Giannoli (France)

"All the Money in the World" – Directed by Ridley Scott (USA)

"Maya" — Directed by Mia Hansen-Love (France)

"Aladdin" — Directed by Guy Ritchie (USA)

"A Private War" — Directed by Matthew Heineman (USA)



"Sand Castle" — Directed by Fernando Coimbra (USA)

"Layla M." — Directed by Mijke de Jong (Netherlands)

"Petra: Time Gate" — Directed by Osman Abu Laban (Egypt)

"Roads to Olympia" — Directed by Ramazan Nanayev (USA/Jordan)



“X-Men Apocalypse” — Directed by Brian Singer (USA)

"Karbala" – Directed by Krzysztof Lukaszewicz (Poland)

"Curse of Mesopotamia" — Directed by Lauand Omar (Iraq)

"The Martian" — Directed by Ridley Scott (USA)

"A War" — Directed by Tobias Lindholm (Denmark)

“Under The Shadow” — Directed by Babak Anvari (UK)

“The Rendez—Vous” (working title) — Directed by Amin Matalqa (USA / Jordan)

“The Idol” — Directed by Hany Abu Assad (Palestine)

"Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" — Directed by Gareth Edwards (USA)

"The Monk and the Demon" — Directed by Nikolay Dostal, (Russia)

"Rattle The Cage" — Directed by Majid Al Ansari, (UAE)

Source: Royal Film Commission — Jordan

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