In 2020, 381 film and TV projects were filmed in Jordan - including 360 local productions and 21 foreign productions.
The Royal Film Commission – Jordan (RFC) has managed to facilitate the shoot of 321 local and foreign productions in the Kingdom during the first half of 2021, creating therefore 2998 job opportunities in the audio-visual field and spending some 6m Jordanian Dinars ($8.46m) in the country.
Despite many challenges for film and TV productions due to the coronavirus pandemic, Jordan continues to attract local and foreign productions, preserving its position on the global map of filming locations, which has negatively affected the audio-visual sector worldwide.
In 2020, 381 film and TV projects were filmed in Jordan – including 360 local productions and 21 foreign productions – which included feature-length documentaries and narratives, shorts, TV series, TV programmes, advertisements and music videos. The total expenditure of the projects filmed in the Kingdom reached 17.5m ($24.68m) Jordanian Dinars, while directly creating more than 5500 jobs.
At the height of the Corona crisis, the RFC had issued in June 2020 a series of protocols and safety guidelines to resume filming in Jordan and secure a safe working environment for local and foreign productions shooting in the country.
Several big foreign productions did not hesitate to choose Jordan as a filming destination, last year, including the crew of the Korean feature-length narrative The Negotiations, directed Yim Soon-rye, and starring Korean top actors, Hwang Jung-min and Hyun Bin. The film crew included 287 Jordanians.
The Korean filmmaker commented on the Jordanian crew: “They are hard-working, friendly and easy to communicate with.” She added: “I was surprised to see the details of the filming protocol that the RFC prepared at an early stage and with all necessary measures. We, of course, followed the required safety rules.”
The Indian director, Blessy Thomas, also headed to Jordan to film scenes of his feature film Goat Days. With 418 Jordanians in the team, the film was shot in Wadi Rum.
With regard to European productions, the award-winning Estonian director, Kadri Kousaar, chose to shoot scenes of her feature narrative film Dead Woman in the desert of Wadi Rum due to its similarity with the Sinai desert where the story is set. In an interview, Kousaar described her filming experience in Jordan as “wonderful” and hoped it won’t be the last. Regarding the safety regulations for filming during the Corona pandemic, she said: “They are clear and feasible instructions.”
As part of the American series Sesame Workshop, the third part of Ahlan Simisim, an educational and entertaining show for children, was shot in Jordan. The Jordanian producer, Khaled Haddad, commented on the filming during the pandemic: “The Royal Film Commission helped us develop a special protocol, which takes into account social distancing and the presence of a doctor on set at all times.”
In addition, three Arab TV series were also shot in Jordan; one Egyptian and two Yemeni productions.
In a related context, the RFC continues to provide support to eligible productions filming in the country through its financial incentive programmes. In 2020, five projects benefited from the “Tax Exemption Programme” whereby taxes and fees are waived. Two projects benefited from the “Cash Rebate Programme”.
Mohannad Al-Bakri, RFC’s Managing Director, stressed that the Commission will continue to exert all efforts to overcome the pandemic, and said: “2020 was a remarkable year. Nobody can overlook the negative repercussions on the film and television sector due to the global outbreak of the Coronavirus. However, we were adamant to overcome obstacles and facilitate the production process while preserving the public safety guidelines. It is worth mentioning that the support of the concerned governmental entities and security authorities bolstered the audio-visual’s recovery efforts.”
He added: “During the pandemic, the RFC issued a specialised guide for filming in the Kingdom taking into consideration public safety rules and launched two new cash rebates programs for Arab and Jordanian projects. We can see the impact of our efforts through the number of local and foreign productions that were filmed in the Kingdom last year and during the first half of this year, despite the restrictions imposed by the global health situation.”