MOROCCO / The Ouarzazate studios stop work


Although in normal times Morocco, and particularly the region around Ouarzazate, attracts many international productions, these are now rare because of the Covid pandemic.

Since March, foreign productions in the Ouarzazate studios have had to stop working. Only two international projects have been completed, Cherry by Joe and Anthony Russo (United States) and a Spanish series, José Luis Moreno’s Glow & Darkness. A third, Genesis, produced by Record TV, had started filming but then was unable to resume when lockdown ended.

This stoppage is causing a significant loss to the Moroccan film sector and to the region of Ouarzazate in particular. In 2019 international productions brought in 796.5 million dirhams, while Moroccan productions brought in only 452.2 million.

To break this deadlock, Said Andam, head of the Ouarzazate Film Commission, has proposed a recovery plan: “To regain its place and again become a motor for economic growth and job creation, the sector needs to be seen to be working.” In May, Andam sent a letter to the Moroccan Chamber of Film Producers and to the Centre Cinématographique Marocain. Since he didn’t receive a reply, he updated his letter on September 22nd to reopen the debate. He said he would like to “encourage more Moroccan producers to come and shoot here in Ouarzazate, given that international flights still haven’t resumed and there aren’t any foreign productions planned in the remaining months of 2020.

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