The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan signed its second-ever international audiovisual co-production agreement on Monday. The agreement aims to expand the film industry in Jordan, where iconic films such as Lawrence of Arabia, the Martian, and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker have been shot.
The five-year deal with the Kingdom of Belgium will facilitate film and television production in both countries.
The move today makes Belgium the first European country to hold a film agreement with Jordan, and the second country after Canada.
The agreement was signed on Monday at the Royal Film Commission (RFC) with the Embassy of Belgium in Amman.
Prince Ali Bin Hussein, the President of the RFC’s Board of Commissioners, was present at the signing between the Minister of Culture Ali Al-Ayed and Luc Delrue, secretary general of the Belgian department of culture, youth, and media.
The ambassador of Belgium in Jordan Filip Vanden Bulcke, the RFC’s Managing Director Mohannad Al Bakri, members of the ministry’s staff, and a delegation from Belgium were all in attendance at the meeting.
The agreement hopes to foster “cultural exchanges and free flow of ideas as well as providing training and marketing opportunities, in addition to encouraging further co-productions,” according to Ali Al-Ayed in a statement to the RFC.
The new deal is expected to stimulate new prospects for Jordanian film production, particularly after a difficult year due to the pandemic. Around the world, many film and television productions were forced to cease work during the coronavirus crisis, as their work is challenging to make remotely or online.
Historically, Jordan has been a popular site for films. The sprawling deserts of Wadi Rum are a popular site for science-fiction movies like the new Star Wars trilogy. The country has also been used as a stand-in for other locations in the Middle East and beyond, such as Osama Bin Laden’s bunker in Pakistan for Zero Dark Thirty.
Vanden Bulcke shared the same enthusiasm for the new deal, saying that “the signing of this agreement is an important step in reinforcing the cultural relations between Jordan and Belgium, in particular the Flemish region, especially as it is only the second such agreement Jordan concludes after the one with Canada. Film production by Belgian production companies in Jordan is already an established practice and will benefit from this agreement,” in a statement to the RFC. Jordan News