Jordan, a Middle-Eastern country, seduces filmmakers with its alluring Arabian mystique and charm. Jordan is a kingdom on the East Bank of the River Jordan, from which the country derives its name. The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is located in the heart of the Middle East, with Syria to the north, Iraq to the east, Saudi Arabia to the south-east and Palestine and Israel to the west. It’s only port, Aqaba, is located at the northern end of the Gulf of Aqaba.
Jordan enjoys a variety of geographical features, starting from the Jordan Rift Valley in the West, which is an extension of the Great Rift Valley that runs through Kenya and Tanzania in Africa, ending in the desert plateau of the east. It boasts a diversity of landscapes including deserts, forests, marshes, beaches, plains, rolling hills and fertile river valleys.
Jordan is steeped in history and culture. Jordanians are warm, friendly and hospitable. They are proud of their Arab heritage and are happy to act as hosts and guides. Jordan also offers a variety of beautiful natural scenes such as rivers, canyons, natural spas and valleys.
The Dead Sea is 45 km west of Amman. At 400 metres below sea level, it is believed to be the site of five biblical cities: Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboiim and Zoar (Bela). Lot’s Cave is on a hill near a tiny spring, overlooking the Dead Sea while the desert castles are scattered throughout the various deserts in Jordan.
There are plenty of opportunities in terms of locations all across the country. The souks or local markets in the larger towns and cities are treasure troves for those seeking something a little out of the ordinary. Amman offers sophisticated locations from shops to boutiques as well.
The climate is semi-dry in summer, with average temperatures in the mid-30 °C. It is relatively cold in winter, averaging around 13 °C. The Western part of the country receives greater precipitation during winter, from November to March, and snowfall in Amman. The major characteristic of the climate is humid from November to March and semi-dry for the rest of the year. With hot, dry summers and cool winters during which practically all of the precipitation occurs, the country has a Mediterranean-style climate. In general, the farther inland from the Mediterranean the country lies, the greater are the seasonal contrasts in temperature and the less the rainfall.
Filming In Jordan
Filming in Jordan is not only resourceful but is proficient as well, from the diversity of locations, including over ten different types of deserts, several beaches, forests and historic sites. Films set in almost any part of the Middle East and several other parts of the world like Iraq, Palestine, Egypt, Afghanistan, Spain and New Mexico may be filmed in Jordan. All these places can be artistically recreated in Jordan. Additional attractions are the low cost of cast, crew and production services, free public locations, availability of efficient services (telecommunication, hotels), and a stable political and social environment and royal and government support for the film industry and foreign producers.
There is no fixed incentive plan for filming in Jordan. However, the Royal Film Commission (RFC) provides ample guidance and help with the government. Foreign crews do not pay taxes on their income in Jordan. The RFC can help by locating cost-effective production services to reduce budgets. A vast array of film funding is available for foreign producers who shoot their films in Jordan. Foreign productions are also exempt from the 16-per cent sales tax.
There are certain criteria for applicants aiming to receive funding for their projects. Applicants who successfully pass the Compulsory Prerequisite status proceed to the Point System Evaluation (PSE). Funds are split between successful applications. The producer must remain in his / her role throughout the entire production. This means that the production must have the same producer from start to completion.
Applicants who successfully pass the Compulsory Prerequisites stage are eligible to enter the PSE stage, whereby the production is evaluated for merits on the basis of developing the Jordanian film industry. Funding is provided on 10 per cent for development of the script along with 50 per cent for production of the film.
A grant of Jordanian dinars (JOD) 5,000 will be given to the producer to finance the development process, whereby both the writer and the producer are dedicated to the refinement of the script for a maximum 60 days. The grant is dispensed in one installment, once the project has been accepted Successful applicants for PSE will be provided with funding on a conditional grant basis.
The production must reimburse the funding in the event that the complete motion picture earns net revenue of 10 per cent or over the budget whereby the net revenue includes revenue from box office, television, distribution, DVD sales and merchandising.