Simon West to shoot historical film Antara in Saudi Arabia’s NEOM

Riyadh: Con-Air and Lara Croft: Tomb Raider’s director Simon West is set to shoot his upcoming historic film Antara in Saudi Arabia’s NEOM.

The film, which is based on a true story, revolves around the life of Antara ibn Shaddad, a sixth-century warrior and poet, who achieved fame despite being imprisoned.

The production is scheduled to spend 12 weeks at Neom from early 2024 and is co-produced by Alexander Amartei.

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NEOM’s competitive cash rebate of 40 percent for various productions, including feature films and TV dramas, will support the film’s production by providing state-of-the-art sound stages, facilities, and a skilled workforce.

The film will call Neom’s Bajdah Studios home and make use of the scenic nearby Red Sea coastline.

“Bringing the story of Antara ibn Shaddad to the big screen and the masses is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to continue his legend,” said West in a statement, adding that “The opportunity to film in the homeland of the Banu Abs tribe means we will keep true to the piece whilst helping to grow the emerging film industry in the region.”

Wayne Borg, Managing Director at NEOM, also emphasized the importance of international productions such as Antara to boost the local workforce and position NEOM as a hub for the media industry in the MENA region.

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“Our support of international productions, such as Antara, highlights the growing confidence film producers have in NEOM and reinforces our position as the gateway to the MENA region for the media industries,” he said.

NEOM continues to attract various productions, with MBC’s TV drama series Exceptional, the Saudi film Hobal by Abdulaziz Alshlahei, and two Telfaz features currently in production.

In the coming months, NEOM will witness the filming of two reality series and several commercials.