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The Royal Film Commission Jordan | 2019: A Momentum for Film Production in Jordan

29/12/2019

2019: A Momentum for Film Production in Jordan

Jordan is being highly acclaimed as a unique filming location that attracts cinema and television productions from around the world.: 13 feature-narrative films, 26 TV series and 93 short films were shot in Jordan this year. It was marked by an unprecedented increase in Jordanian productions, as for the first time, three feature-narrative films - produced, written and directed by Jordanians - were shot in the same year.

In the past two months, the Kingdom has witnessed a filming hype: four Jordanian productions, two Arab projects, one Jordanian-Arab co-production, one American TV series and a Serbian feature film.

With Jordanian film “Farha”, the young director Darin J. Sallam makes her way into the world of feature-narrative films, while her previous credits include five short movies. Sallam’s lens roamed Amman, Ajloun and Balqa to shoot her film set in 1948 Palestine. 14-year-old Farha dreams of continuing her education despite societal restrictions, but her life is threatened and drastically changed by a looming conflict. The Palestinian actor Ashraf Barhom plays the role of Farha’s father in the film, which was shot over 32 days with a crew of about 80

“The Alleys” is the first feature-length narrative movie by director Bassel Ghandour, the scriptwriter and producer of the Jordanian film “Theeb” that was nominated for the Academy Awards in 2016. With a crew of 80 people, “The Alleys” was filmed in various parts of the capital over the course of forty days. In a claustrophobic East Amman neighborhood, where life is governed by gossips and violence, the film follows the secret relationship between Ali – an imposter young man – and university student Lana, whose mother “Aseel”- a role performed by Jordanian actress Nadira Omran - finds out about this relationship and tries to put an end to it.

In his first feature-narrative film “Daughters of Abdulrahman”, director Zaid Abu Hamdan introduces us to Abdulrahman's family and his three daughters. The father is raising his daughters after the tragic passing away of their mother. However, the three sisters are dispersed only to meet after a long time, confronting their different lifestyles while the father tries to hold on to the beautiful memories they once shared. Starring the Jordanian actress Saba Mubarak, the film was shot in different areas of the Capital.

Princess Rym Ali, member of the Board of Commissioners at the Royal Film Commission, visited the film sets of the three Jordanian feature movies, where she met the directors and the film crews. She commented: “This year is a beacon for Jordanian cinema; we are eager to watch the Jordanian productions on the big screen, show them to the public and celebrate their creators, wishing them continuous progress and success.” She added: “There is currently a momentum for filming local, Arab and international productions in the Kingdom; and the RFC is providing all necessary comprehensive production services to secure a comfortable and enabling environment for these projects to see the light.”

In addition, Jordan, Egypt and Palestine joined hands to produce the feature-narrative film “Sarah” by the Egyptian director Mohamed Diab, whose credits include the award-winning “Clash”. With “Sarah”, another production starring Saba Mubarak, Diab toured Amman, Salt and Zarqa, for forty days, to tell the story of a young Palestinian girl, who has never seen her captive father.

Jordanian TV series “Alrasad”, shot in Amman, Jerash and Ajloun, was also part of the dynamic local production scene. Directed by Qais Elia, “Alrasad” stars Jordanian actor Eyad Nassar and Syrian actor Abbas al-Noury.

With the Kingdom’s increasingly attracting Arab productions, the Egyptian director Yassir Sami chose Salt, Karak Castle and Wadi Bin Hammad as filming locations for his upcoming TV series “The End”. The cast features a group of Egyptian actors including Yousuf Al Sharif, Amr Abdul Jalil and Nahed El Sebai, in a story set in the distant future after a great war destroys the planet.

The twin Palestinian directors – Arab & Tarzan Nasser –embarked on a journey to Madaba and Amman to film a story set in Gaza for their second feature-narrative movie “3 Miles to Love”. Shot in 29 days, the film depicts the daily life in the Gaza Strip through the eyes of a fifty-year-old fisherman, in love with a beautiful woman, struggling to live in difficult conditions. The film’s leading roles are played by Salim Daw, Hiam Abbas and a number of Jordanian actors, including Nabil Kawni.

Wadi Rum remains a charming magnet for foreign productions. It hosted last month the shoot of the first Serbian production in Jordan “A Cross in the Desert”, a feature film by director by Hadzi Aleksandar Durovic; in addition to an American science fiction series "Away" by David Boyd.

It is worth mentioning that the Jordan Film Fund – managed by the RFC- provided financial support to the three Jordanian feature-length narratives, while 12 short Jordanian films, which had also benefited from the Fund's grants, were all filmed this year, in addition to developing twelve Arab and Jordanian projects. The RFC has established the JFF to enable filmmakers to tell their stories in addition to developing the independent film industry and contributing to its sustainability, especially in Jordan.
Earlier this month, the RFC organized the first Jordanian screening of the famous sci-fi movie “STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER”, by American director J.J. Abrams, in the presence of the Jordanian crew and that was attended by some 850 people. We see in the film the dazzling areas of Wadi Rum and Shakriah that served as filming locations for a galaxy far away. The foreign production worked with more than 250 Jordanian crew.

Another prominent event this year was Jordan’s hosting the first regional screening of “Aladdin”, the live-action remake of Disney’s 1992 animated film. This screening – attended by over 1000 people – was organized by the RFC in the presence of the film’s director Guy Ritchie and the movie’s stars Will Smith, Naomi Scott and Mena Massoud. The film was partially shot in Wadi Rum last year.

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For more information, please call: The Royal Film Commission - Jordan
Marian Nakho, tel: 06-4642266/ Ext: 23

The Royal Film Commission – Jordan (RFC) is a public institution, with administrative and financial autonomy, established in 2003 with a mandate to promote for and contribute to the development of an internationally competitive Jordanian audio-visual industry. The RFC organizes training workshops, screenings and provides production support services.