Exclusive: Major film studio to be built in AlUla, Saudi Arabia

The complex will have two soundstages and production support buildings

By Chris Evans 20 May 2022

Exclusive: Major film studio to be built in AlUla, Saudi Arabia
AlUla. Crdit: Film AlUla

A new film studio is being built in the AlUla region of Saudi Arabia in an effort to attract more international productions.

The impressive complex in the Fadhla area of AlUla will have two soundstages, both 24,000 square feet, as well as support facilities, including production offices, catering, film clusters, and a backlot.

“We are keen to support local productions, but also attract more international productions to AlUla and building a studio [one of the first in Saudi Arabia) will help achieve this, following the successful arrival of [Gerard Butler starrer] Kandahar, which shot entirely in our region, and Apple’s Iraq war story Cherry,” Stephen Strachan, Film AlUla’s film commissioner told KFTV at the Cannes film festival.

“We have already been granted permission to build the studio and are currently planning construction, with the aim of having the studio open by February 2023. We want filming to take place there all year round.”

Film AlUla was set up as an agency in 2020 by Saudi Arabia’s Royal Commission to promote filming in the northwest region, which boasts impressive untouched landscapes, including preserved tombs, sandstone outcrops, mountains, volcanoes, and historic dwellings, such as the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Hegra.

As well as the studio, a new film resort is being built just 20 minutes away, which will offer more than 300 mid-priced accommodations and offices when complete where production crew can base themselves.

“AlUla is in the process of being transformed, as part of the Saudi government’s Vision3030, combining modern buildings with historic sites, which can be used for filming,” says Strachan, whose team can assist with permits and cut through red tape.

“We are also making a concerted effort to train production talent - including with boot camps - and bring in equipment suppliers, so we can support international productions that come here.”

AlUla already hosts a number of commercials and local projects (639 filming days from January to March 2022), but Strachan is now keen to see more international films and TV series shoot in the region.

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