Con Air director Simon West is set to film his upcoming historic drama Antara in Saudi Arabia's NEOM.
Based on a true story, the film revolves around the titular Antara ibn Shaddad, an imprisoned warrior who won his freedom to become a knight and one of the most celebrated poets in Arabian history.
Per our sister site Screendaily, production is scheduled for 12 weeks, starting early 2024, based at Bajdah Studios and set against the backdrop of Neom’s desert and mountain landscapes in northwest Saudi Arabia as well as the Red Sea coastline.
Antara is co-produced by Irish writer and producer Alexander Amartei. Celtic Films Entertainment CEO Stuart Sutherland also co-produces under his Jeddah-based production company Celtic Arabia.
Sutherland is recognised for Killing Eve and Saudi-set feature Born A King. More recently, he co-produced Gerard Butler starrer Kandahar which filmed in the Kingdom.
Antara will also benefit from Neom’s 40%+ cash rebate and will utilise the growing production hub’s sound stages, support facilities, talent and crews.
West, whose credits also include Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, The General’s Daughter and The Expendables 2, said: “The life of Antara is one of those relatively little-known true stories that prove that fact can be so much stranger than fiction. The opportunity to film in the homeland of the Banu Abs tribe means we will keep true to the piece whilst helping to grow the emerging film industry in the region.”
Wayne Borg, managing director of media industries, entertainment, and culture at Neom, added the production would “boost our ecosystem’s development by providing unparalleled work experience opportunities for young Saudis and fast-track the development and growth of the local workforce.”