The Centre Cinématographique Marocain was founded in 1944. It is one of the world’s oldest public establishments tasked with regulating and promoting film.
Since the 1920s, Morocco has had a long tradition of welcoming foreign film shoots, from “Mektoub” by J. Pinchon and Daniel Quintin, filmed in Tangier in 1919, to “The man who knew too much” by Alfred Hitchcock in 1955, via “Othello” by Orson Welles in 1952 (awarded the Grand Prix at Cannes in 1952 as a Moroccan film).
That love story between Morocco and film makers has never ended.
Over the last 40 years, Morocco has become one of the world’s major film-shooting sites, whether for cinema or for television, whether for big-budget blockbusters or for small-scale productions.
The list of our foreign guests is so long that it would be almost easier to list the people who have not shot films in Morocco.
Nonetheless, let us pay homage to our prestigious guests: John Huston, Martin Scorsese, Ridley and Tony Scott, Philippe de Broca, Jackie Chan, Alain Chabat, Paul Greengrass, Oliver Stone, Alejandro González Iñárritu, Mike Newell, Clint Eastwood, Bernardo Bertolucci, Vittorio Storaro, Franco Zefirelli, Bruce Willis, Sean Connery, Brad Pitt, Robert Redford, Nicole Kidman, Tom Hanks, Daniel Craig, Sam Mendes, Sophia Loren, Monica Bellucci, Billie August, Leonardo DiCaprio…
Part of Morocco’s attractiveness lies in the wide variety of its landscapes:
Snow-covered mountains, sandy deserts, palaces out of “The Thousand and One Nights”, “Art Deco” buildings, qasba, Californian town, ultra-modern airports, fisherfolk villages, motorways, landing strips in the middle of the desert… Martin Scorsese found Tibet and Tian an Men Square for filming in Morocco (“Kundun”), where he also found Biblical settings (“The Last Temptation of Christ”).
In Morocco, Clint Eastwood found Falluja (for “American Sniper”), and Ridley Scott found Somalia (for “Black Hawk Down”) and Ancient Rome (for “Gladiator”).
John Huston, found Kafiristan, an imaginary region in Afghanistan (for “The Man who would be King”). “Cubby” Broccoli also found Afghanistan in Morocco (for the James Bond film “The Living Daylights”). Since the early 2000s, Morocco has been the setting for innumerable film shoots that depict Afghanistan.
Egypt appears in “Mission Cléopâtre” by Alain Chabat and “Un pique-nique chez Osiris” by Nina Companeez, and in Napoleon’s Egyptian campaign (in “Napoléon” by Yves Simoneau and “Napoleon and Josephine – a love story”, produced by Warner Bros.) Even the imaginary kingdom of Westeros from “Game of Thrones” found a home in Morocco.
Closer to home, the fifth “Mission: Impossible” film was shot in 2014 in Marrakesh, and Sam Mendes is currently shooting the 24th James Bond film.
For all those reasons, in April 2015, the British daily newspaper “The Guardian” chose Morocco as the world’s second-best destination for film shoots.
- Participation under excellent conditions by all the official bodies of the State, i.e. the Royal Armed Forces, the Royal Moroccan Air Force, the Royal Moroccan Navy, the Royal Gendarmerie, and the National Security Service
- Simplification of the procedure for temporary imports of arms and munitions required for film shoots
- Rebates granted by Royal Air Maroc for the air transport of goods and passengers
- Symbolic tariffs for shooting films at historic sites and monuments
- VAT exemption for all goods and services acquired in Morocco
- Simplification of the customs-clearance procedure for importing and exporting film-shooting equipment
- Within the CCM, setting up departments that further facilitate procedures and contacts with departments and authorities involved in film shoots
All the foregoing has meant that increasing numbers of foreign film companies choose Morocco as a destination to make their productions. That, in turn, will certainly play a role in the development of the film sector and, beyond that, the national economy.
To help that vital sector to flourish, several Moroccan and foreign investors have set up well-equipped film studios in CASABLANCA and OUARZAZATE, (ATLAS Studios, KAN ZAMANE Studios, CINEDINA Studios, ESTER ANDROMEDA Studios, CLA Studio). In January 2005, His Majesty King MOHAMMED V inaugurated the CINECITTÀ Studio in OUARZAZATE.
Informed interest on the part of the country’s Highest Authority in film matters encourages public authorities, professionals, and artists to work in order to lengthen and even amplify the wish that is common to all: the flowering of a film industry in Morocco.