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Filming in Saudi Arabia

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The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is the Arabian Peninsula’s largest country. Its population stands at approximately 34.81 million, with around 10.74 million foreign residents. The country’s geography includes: forests, grasslands, mountain ranges and deserts.

The Arabian Peninsula is flanked by two major bodies of water. To the West lies the Red Sea, while the Persian Gulf sits on the East. Several key cities - such as the port destination Jeddah - line the Red Sea coast, offering direct access to a stunning coral reef. Located in the centre of the an-Nafud desert, the capital Riyadh is the country’s most-populous city, attracting around 5 million tourists each year.

Until very recently cinemas were prohibited in Saudi Arabia. Over the last several years, the country has started to revitalise its film sector. The government created an investment package worth USD64 million for the national entertainment industry, emphasising their intent to stimulate media production in the region.

Speaking at the Red Sea International Film Festival towards the end of 2021, the Saudi Film Commission revealed a new cash rebate scheme for incoming filmmakers. The incentives are expected to cover up to 40% of qualifying costs for documentaries, animations and feature length projects filmed in the kingdom, creating one of the world’s most competitive incentive packages. As part of the investment programme, the Film Commission intends to build a new Saudi Film Institute, a world-class training hub dedicated to film production and professional training.


You could be surrounded by purple and pink rock features that feel like Morocco. And then suddenly you might find yourself in grey, rubbly areas that feel like Afghanistan or Iraq, immersed in palm trees and luscious farms, or standing on the edge of a volcanic plateau.

Stephen Strachan, Film Commissioner at Film AlUla


Saudi Arabia gets very little rain, with the annual total rarely reaching over four inches. While the climate is generally hot and dry, there are key differences from region to region. Desert temperatures reach over 110 degrees Fahrenheit during the summer periods, whereas the winter temperatures in the north and central parts of the country may drop below freezing.

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