Business

Tour Morocco's little Hollywood

Alex Court, for CNN

Updated 6:10 AM ET, Thu March 5, 2015
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The southern Moroccan town of Ouarzazate and its surrounding areas have been home to several international TV and film productions, including scenes for the global hit "Game of Thrones." In this scene from the 10th episode of the third series of the TV show, the character Daenerys Targaryen is a princess living in exile -- the filming took place near Ouarzazate. Courtesy: HBO/bSkyb
Daenerys, the only surviving child of King Aerys II Targaryen, conquers the mythical city of Yunkai which is based around the Moroccan citadel of Ait-Ben-Haddou near Ouarzazate. Courtesy: HBO/bSkyb
But Ait-Ben-Haddou has also appeared in numerous other productions including "Kingdom of Heaven" and 2006 Golden Globe winner "Babel." FADEL SENNA/AFP/Getty Images
This set in Ouarzazate was used in the filming of "Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time" which starred Jake Gyllenhaal. Christian McWilliams
Studios in Ouarzazate offer filmmakers dozens of set options and props, from Styrofoam Egyptian temples to colorful cars. Some studios even have horses for hire. Courtesy: Martijn Munneke
Atlas Studios was created in 1983 to host the Michael Douglas classic. "The Jewel of the Nile." FADEL SENNA/AFP/Getty Images/FIle
The global financial crisis and the Arab Spring hit Morocco's film studios hard, but there are now signs that a recovery is starting. Foreign film projects spent $120 million in 2014, up from $23 million in 2013. FADEL SENNA/AFP/Getty Images/File
Filmmakers come to Morocco for the good natural light and landscapes, but also for the experienced Moroccan talent who are often cheaper to employ than in other countries. FADEL SENNAAFP/Getty Images/File
Costumes like these from Ridley Scott's movie "Gladiator" were worn during the filming in Ouarzazate. LEE CELANO/AFP/Getty Images/File
Foreign filmmakers are also tempted by Morocco's tax-incentives -- foreign crews are exempt from paying value added tax. FADEL SENNA/AFP/Getty Images/File
Outside Ouarzazate town lies the Fint Oasis. The lush greenery comes in sharp contrast with the desert plains, giving filmmakers easy access to multiple backdrop options. ABDELHAK SENNA/AFP/GettyImages/File
On the set of the film "Damascus Cover," which is being filmed in Casablanca. The film, which will be released in Autumn 2015, is set in 1989, as the Berlin wall falls. It follows a veteran spy who is sent undercover in Syria to smuggle a chemical weapons scientist out of Damascus. Copyright Damascus Cover Jake Thomas
On the set of Oliver Stone's film "Alexander" which starred Angelina Jolie and Anthony Hopkins. The film was partly shot in the Atlas Mountains outside Marrakech. Tony Reeves/Movie-Locations.com
As well as being a hot destination for making films, Morocco is also well known for celebrating films. The Marrakech International Film Festival was created in 2001 by King Mohammed VI and is attended by prominent filmmakers, critics and actors from around the world. Dominique Charriau/Getty Images/File
Celebrated film director Martin Scorsese filmed "The Last Temptation of Christ" in Morocco and has also acted as the president of the jury at the 2013 Marrakech International Film Festival. FADEL SENNA/AFP/Getty Images/File
The country also has a long history of film. The Cine Palace cinema in Marrakech was built in 1926 to replicate Cinema Eden by the Lumiere Brothers in La Ciota France. ABDELHAK SENNA/AFP/Getty Images/File