Morocco plans to build a mammoth film studio in the hope of enticing more major filmmakers to the scenic North African country.
Although U.S. and European producers shoot on location in Morocco, they complete their films elsewhere because the country lacks proper studio facilities, said Suheil Ben Barka, director of the Moroccan Cinematography Center, who recently announced the $10 million project.Parts of several well-known movies, including Martin Scorsese's controversial "The Last Temptation of Christ" and the James Bond film "The Living Daylights" were shot in Morocco.
"We have the sun, the sea, sand dunes and the snow-capped Atlas mountains," Ben Barka said.
"In Morocco, we also have more than a million horses and we alone in the world can deliver 5,000 of them within a week to meet the needs of any group filming here," he said.
"That is why we are going to build a studio, which will be the largest in the world, so that a film can be made entirely in Morocco."
Worldwide, about 700 full-length films are made each year, and with most studios working round-the-clock there is demand for more studios, Ben Barka said.
The studio would be in Marrakesh, one of the most picturesque and oldest cities of Morocco on the fringes of the Atlas range and the Western Sahara.
Ben Barka, who studied cinematography in Rome, said the center expected private French, West German and Italian film groups to underwrite 30 percent of the project.