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Ouarzazate in southern Morocco was once considered a key film industry hub for its studio facilities and the stark beauty of its locations, with many Hollywood blockbusters shot there.All of them feature scenes shot at Ouarzazate, which lies at the foot of the scenic High Atlas Mountains. Ouarzazate's film industry is in the doldrums, needing fresh winds to get it moving again.Ouarzazate is known for attracting big-budget historic epics with large casts, and already Nicole Kidman and Tom Hanks have visited since the beginning of the year.A major factor behind that, according to Moroccan film critic Adil Semmar, was the rising insurance costs caused by security problems in the region, notably after the Arab Spring uprisings.Ouarzazate's fortunes contrast with the boom Morocco's own, heavily state-funded movie industry is enjoying, with 22 feature films made in the past year, compared with around five a decade ago.Like most Moroccan films, however, these are low-budget movies about the gritty realities of life in the North African country, with little need for expensive desert studios, says Semmar, the film critic.
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