Journey to Mecca: Morocco

Agadir, Erfoud and Ouarzazat double for The Red Sea, Damascus and Mecca

Filmed April 8-May 14, 2008

Scorpions, snakes, spiders, serpents, sandstorms and sun presented minor challenges in Morocco compared to the rigours of shooting in Saudi Arabia. Roberts and Ferguson, with their usual vigor, spearheaded the production and opened offices in February, 2008, in Ouarzazate, located on a plain adjacent to the Atlas Mountains.

"Morocco was more of a conventional feature film shoot, but it is always more challenging in IMAX® because you've got big heavy equipment (fully loaded, the IMAX® camera weighs 85 pounds) and 1000-foot loads which translate into three minutes of time of having the camera running before you have to stop and reload. So, in that sense, it is more challenging than shooting a conventional feature film," says Barker, an IMAX® eminence.

"In fact, there were at least three major challenges in Morocco. The first was filming the war zone in the Red Sea, another was choreographing one of the largest camel caravans ever filmed, while the most magnificent was building a historical recreation of Mecca, circa 1325, and training 450 extras to perform the Hajj in a form acceptable to all Muslims."

Contents:

Genesis
Heading for Saudi Arabia
The Filmmakers
The Screenplay
Casting for Ibn Battuta
The Highwayman
Ibn Muzaffar and Hamza
Ben Kingsley as Narrator
Filming in Mecca
IMAX® film logistics
Morocco
Mecca in Morocco
The Camel Caravan
Camel Capers
Damascus, The Red Sea and The Nile
Costumes
IMAX® Isn't For Sissies
Music
Historical Advisors
Arabic Calligraphy
Ibn Battuta