Over a decade ago in 2000, a cabinet decree was adopted approving the creation of a 'media free zone' in the Sixth of October City. The idea was that this zone, called the Egyptian Media Production City (EMPC) and covering a surface area of 3 million sq. m, dealt efficiently and effectively with all art, drama and other forms of media productions. The zone now provides many advantages to investors and to those interested in producing drama and other media forms.
Furthermore, the nation of 78 million people, most of whom live in Cairo or near the banks of the River Nile, has some of the most famous monuments including the Valley of the Kings, the Great Sphinx and the city of Luxor.
Rainfall in Eqypt averages 2 to 5mm per year with temperatures averaging between 27°C and 32°C in summer and between 13°C and 21°C in winter.
The country also has a good system of public and private transport and domestic air travel is of a good standard and the quickest way to get around.
The political unrest in Egypt in 2013 has arguably had a negative effect on the film industry. However, some filmakers are still determined to move ahead with their projects.
Tom Hanks visited Egypt in 2014 when shooting scenes for his film, A Hologram for the King, directed by Tom Tykwer. The film, based on a novel by Dave Eggers, used underwater cameras when filming in Egypt's Red Sea resort city of Hurghada.
Egypt's National Film Center told The Hollywood Reporter at the time that as part of a drive to attract international productions, the centre pushed through the necessary permit requests for the film in 72 hours.
Another intruguing project is the documentary film Picassos of the Thar, from director Elizabeth Wickett, made in 2013. The idea behind the film was to try to find out who makes the elaborate and valuable gold embroidered patchworks known as mukke which are found in Rajasthan.
Director Doug Liman chose Egypt for Fair Game, the 2010 big budget Hollywood feature starring Naomi Watts and Sean Penn, and in the same year, Luc Besson directed the French fantasy adventure film The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec in the ancient country.
Filming permits are required and can be obtained from the Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of Defense. Often filmmakers would also do well asking the permission of local tribe heads to ensure a smooth journey and local cooperation. Specific permission (and sometimes fees) may be needed on top if requesting to film at sites of cultural or historic significance.
The media free zone has 64 studios distributed among six studio complexes. Each complex comprises studios of various areas (100 - 900 sq. m) for video production.
The studios are equipped with newsroom and news-reporting technologies and direct connectivity with the satellites allows receiving and re-broadcasting correspondents’ reports via Nile Sat.
Without a doubt, Egypt provides some of the most recognisable backdrops in the world - the pyramids, the river Nile and the Great Sphinx of Giza. All have been used to memorable effect in classic films such as Death on the Nile, the star-studded 1978 adaptation of the Agatha Christie novel.
In 1977's The Spy Who Loved Me, several different locations were used as Bond and his KGB rival travelled across the country in pursuit of a microfilm. These included acient historic sites such as Karnak and the temples at Abu Simbel.