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Ouarzazate, Morocco’s Hollywood


Ouarzazate in Moroco is all about the movies – if you can cultivate the right look to play the ultimate evil villain or his sidekick, there might be work in it.

Plenty of work – in fact more than half of the people living in this desert city are involved in the movie business.

Western filmmakers and TV producers come here on the look out for stunning locations – you’re spoilt for choice – and a ready supply of extras.

If you don’t get a part as a bearded terrorist or man in street market, the chances are, you’d be working as a set builder, or in film hospitality.

To get to our Moroccan movie mecca, we drove for six hours from Marrakesh, across the imposing Atlas mountains, or Tibet as Martin Scorsese would have us believe – his 1997 film Kundun, about the 14th Dalai Lama, was filmed, not in Tibet, but right here.

The snow capped mountain range overlooks the desert, and filming here was cheaper and logistically easier. Tibet, Baghdad, Tehran – this region has stood in for them all on screen.

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