New Italian film doubles Tunisia for biblical Palestine
A new Italian-language film about the life of Mary Magdalene has doubled Tunisia for Palestine. Io Sono Con Te (The English title will be Let It Be) considered filming in Morocco but eventually settled on Tunisia. This was due to cost concerns and the proximity to the Italian mainland. Also, Tunisia offers very similar landscapes to Palestine and the wider Middle East and regularly doubles for countries such as Iraq and Syria.
The shoot itself lasted eight weeks and focused on the southern region of Matmata, which doubled for Bethlehem, and Le Kef in the north that doubled for Nazareth. Habib Attia, an Executive Producer with Cinetelefilms in Tunisia, said: “Some important constructions were also made like the Temple of Erode built in Le Kef fortress. The technical crew was also mainly Tunisian except for some of the Italian heads of department such as the Director, Director of Photography, Sound Engineer and Set Designer. We also had several thousand extras in the film.”
Three weeks were set aside to construct the wooden Temple of Erode and then all the relevant scenes were filmed within a two-day period. The set was then deconstructed once filming was complete and the rushes assured the crew they had all the footage they needed. As an historical production period costumes and props were needed and these were all sourced within Tunisia.
Shooting permits were issued by the Ministry of Culture and are usually available for productions within two weeks of the initial application. Mr Attia said: “Several stuntmen have also contributed in the shooting as the film has various battle scenes. Several scenes were shot with the Steadicam and some others were shot with three cameras.”
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