Why Filmmakers Choose the Middle East as Their Natural Backdrop Image

Why Filmmakers Choose the Middle East as Their Natural Backdrop

By Film Threat Staff | April 19, 2023

When one thinks about the Middle East, thoughts of its affluent, diverse, and bustling social and economic centers may come to mind. However, it is important to remember that the Middle East is often regarded as the cradle of civilization, having played a pivotal part in the evolution of human history.  Today, the region boasts a myriad of stunning landscapes ranging from bustling cities to breathtaking deserts, making it an ideal natural backdrop for the film industry. Over the years, numerous iconic films have been shot in the Middle East, such as Indiana Jones and the Mummy in the 90s, and more recently, Wonder Woman (2020) and Dune (2021), which have left a lasting impression on audiences worldwide.

Exploring the Middle East as a Natural Filming Location

The Middle East is a region rich in history, culture, and stunning natural landscapes, making it an ideal backdrop for many films. While the region has been a source of inspiration for many local productions, it has also served as a natural filming location for some of the most unexpected blockbusters. In this article, we will delve into the reasons why the Middle East has become a sought-after natural filming location, using the recent film DUNE (2021) as a case study.

Creating a Natural Arrakis in Dune (2021)

Frank Herbert’s Dune franchise has garnered a large and loyal fanbase over the years, with numerous books, fan fiction, and even video games to satisfy fans’ cravings for more content. However, the cinematic adaptations of the franchise have left much to be desired, whether due to outdated technology or other factors. Therefore, a reboot or refresh was needed, and the latest adaptation did not disappoint.

Dune (2021) was filmed in several locations, including Stadlandet, Norway, Wadi Rum, Jordan, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, and Budapest, Hungary. However, what stands out most is the breathtaking footage of the majestic landscapes of Arrakis.

Arrakis is a fictional desert planet that serves as the primary setting for Frank Herbert’s Dune franchise. It is a harsh, barren world that is home to the valuable and coveted resource called “spice.” In the story, the planet’s indigenous people, the Fremen, are fiercely protective of their planet and its resources. The landscapes of Arrakis are characterized by massive sand dunes, vast deserts, and harsh winds.

The filmmakers preferred to film on location, on the dunes, which resulted in most scenes being natural and not filmed in front of a green screen. This approach allowed for the creation of a sense of realism that is hard to achieve with CGI, with natural lighting providing perfect contact shadows. As a result, even slower, non-action scenes were enjoyable to watch because of the natural feel they conveyed.

The Natural Beauty of the Middle East

Dune (2021) is not the first film to showcase the natural beauty of the Middle East. Numerous films over the years have utilized the region’s stunning landscapes, from the vast deserts of Jordan to the bustling cities of Dubai. Wonder Woman (2020), for example, was partially shot in Wadi Rum, Jordan, where the filmmakers were able to capture the region’s rugged beauty, juxtaposing it with the sleek, modern architecture of the film’s urban settings.

The use of natural landscapes in the film not only creates a sense of realism but also showcases the region’s natural beauty, providing a new perspective on the Middle East that goes beyond the common perceptions of the region as a center of political turmoil or economic activity.

The New Middle East: From Film to Sports 

The Middle East has been an important filming location for some of the biggest blockbusters in cinematic history. However, the region’s contribution to the entertainment industry is not limited to the film industry alone. Over the years, the Middle East has emerged as a major sports hub, with several countries hosting world-renowned events such as the Qatar World Cup 2022, the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, and the Dubai World Cup.

The region has also become a hotbed for eSports, with cities like Dubai and Riyadh hosting several international gaming tournaments. In addition, the Middle East has emerged as a popular tourist destination, with millions of people from around the world visiting its stunning landscapes, ancient ruins, and bustling cities every year. But that’s not all; the Middle East is also making waves in the online gaming industry, with the rise of Arabic online casinos such as Arabic-casinos.org. These games offer a unique and authentic gaming experience to players from around the world, with many of them featuring elements of Arabic culture and history.

Final Thoughts 

The Middle East’s natural beauty, cultural significance, and modernity make it a prime location for the world’s fastest-growing film industries. From Jordan’s rugged deserts to Dubai’s bustling cities, the region offers stunning landscapes for any genre. As the film industry continues to evolve, the Middle East will continue to provide natural backdrops for filmmakers worldwide. The region’s contribution to entertainment will only grow as the world becomes more connected, along with its role in sports, gaming, and tourism. With its rich history and diverse culture, the Middle East is poised to take on an increasingly prominent role in global entertainment.

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