The secret of making big Hollywood movies involves filming east, the Middle East to be precise. The following movies have one thing in common; they were filmed in the Middle East.
“Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens” (Abu Dhabi, UAE)
“Fast & Furious 7” (Abu Dhabi, UAE)
“Exodus: Gods and Kings” (Jordan)
“Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” (Jordan)
“The Hurt Locker” (Jordan)
“Zero Dark Thirty” (Jordan)
“Fair Game” (Egypt)
Though political and social tensions have “inflamed the region for centuries,” Hollywood has no hesitations in filming abroad. There are huge advantages to both parties, filmmakers receive financial assistance and Middle Eastern countries receive publicity and economic stimulation.
The East mainly supported movie productions to boost their economy, however, it also provided a different outlook for the Western world. The Middle East is usually seen as a war stricken zone, suffering in poverty and unrest. Many aren’t aware of the “dazzling coastline under year-round sunny skies,” the iconic architecture, and ancient deserts. In addition to the multitude of locations, the Middle East also offers tax incentives for Hollywood productions. Israel began “offering better tax breaks, terror attack insurance and credits of up to $400,000” to accurately film movies that are set in Israel.
Financial stimulation is very beneficial for any country, especially for those with wavering economies and unstable governments. Filming provides more money to the state, creates jobs for workers, and production among businesses. The growth can help countries in the Middle East recover damages from wars, political corruption, and civil unrest. This can pave the way towards unity and prosperity.
Baghdad was originally known as a learning center to cultivate ideas, culture, and commercialism. Artists, intellects, merchants, and travelers from around the world would flood the city and share their knowledge and trade. There was a palace, gardens, libraries and schools, After Mongol conquest, the city was destroyed and followed continuous decline with successive empires. Today, Baghdad is commonly tied with terrorism, poverty, and destruction. The world may not even care to look into the causes of the current condition; rather, they’ll rely on media to tell them a summary of the Middle East.
A new source of Middle Eastern knowledge comes by filming more Hollywood scenes in the Middle East. The rest of the world can see what the landscape and cities are like because most of them have probably never visited the Middle East. Movies also provide a different prospective of those countries. News reports in the Western world are usually biased with negative opinions or criticism. Hollywood movies usually display the Middle East for their beaches, architecture and climate; all of which are excluded in news coverage. Movies can showcase the people of the Middle East as individual humans with feelings and emotions; where as the news can categorize the people under one umbrella with one intention. The publicity is important to clear misunderstandings the Western world has about the Middle East. With the attention, they can brand themselves as a tourist destination and increase business revenues.
Hollywood also benefits by filming in the Middle East. They receive appealing tax incentives, financing, and discounts. This is similar to outsourcing the filming to save money. Hollywood is more likely to be interested in the monetary compensations rather than advancing the Middle East economy and enhancing their reputation; however, the business transaction happens to mutually benefit both parties. Hollywood is not desperate for filming abroad because the United States has no shortage of sunny beaches, historical landmarks, and a diverse population. Strictly business endeavors (to optimize revenues) influence producers to film overseas, so as long as hefty packages are presented, Hollywood will continue to support the Middle Eastern economy.
This is a great for improving global relations and promoting cultural awareness. The Western world has opinions about the Middle East, but they are most likely supported by second hand, biased information. Most people learn about the world through the media, however, the media filters their material to promote their company’s and/or government’s political views. By having a separate entity, Hollywood, go into the controversial areas and document it with different perspectives, the Western world can see the Middle East with a different filter, hopefully leading to tolerance and understanding.