Written by on Jun 12, 2015. Posted in On Location

Jordan targets stronger filming incentives as Ridley Scott’s The Martian approaches

Authorities in Jordan are working towards offering stronger filming incentives to help the country compete with its international rivals. Ridley Scott’s upcoming sci-fi movie The Martian used Jordan as a stand-in for Mars and features Matt Damon as a stranded cosmonaut.

Jordan has had difficulty attracting big-budget studio productions in recent years partly because of political instability and prolonged conflicts in neighbouring Iraq, Syria and Israel.

The highest-profile international productions of the last few years have been Werner Herzog’s Queen of the Desert, Jon Stewart’s Rosewater, thriller sequel Monsters: Dark Continent and Kathryn Bigelow’s terrorism drama Zero Dark Thirty.

The Jordanian government recently launched a series of tax exemptions for international productions as a filming incentive offering. In an interview with the Jordan Times the Royal Film Commission’s general manager George David said he is pushing to expand the country’s incentive support.

Jordan faces intense competition from the likes of Morocco, Malta and South Africa, all of which offer similar visuals in more stable parts of the world. Malta and South Africa also have more comprehensive film incentive support.

Petra is not a place where filmmakers head to because there are a limited number of stories that you can do there.

George David, Royal Film Commission Jordan

“We have many producers who filmed in Jordan [and] came again because they appreciate the human resources of Jordan, and we are very proud of that,” David told the paper.

“Jordanian movies are a brilliant way to promote Jordan not only as a location but also as a culture.

“Wadi Rum, Zizia [an area near the airport road], downtown Amman and Salt are among the favourite locations for filmmakers. Petra is not a place where filmmakers head to because there are a limited number of stories that you can do there.”

Ridley Scott has tended to lean towards Morocco for desert filming locations over the last few years. Gladiator, his Somalia-set war movie Black Hawk Down, spy drama Body of Lies and Kingdom of Heaven were all partly filmed in the North African country.

Scott broke with tradition for Exodus: Gods and Kings, which doubled Spain’s Almeria Desert for ancient Egypt.

The Martian will be released in the US on 2 October 2015 and around the world from late November.

(Images: Aidan Monaghan/Twentieth Century Fox)


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