Kandahar: Gerard Butler Hollywood film shot in Saudi Arabia premieres in Riyadh

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A new Hollywood film shot almost entirely in Saudi Arabia premiered at Vox Cinemas in Riyadh on Wednesday evening.

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Kandahar, featuring featuring Gerard Butler, opened to the public on Thursday. The film follows the story of Tom Harris (Butler), an undercover CIA operative stuck deep in hostile territory in Afghanistan.

After Harris’ mission to attack Iranian nuclear facilities is exposed, he must fight his way out alongside his Afghan translator.

Local filmmakers gained valuable experience from working together with the team behind Kandahar.

Production began in 2021 and ran until 2022, with sites in Jeddah serving as city scenes for Tehran and Herat, and the scenic AlUla region of Saudi Arabia depicting rural Afghanistan.

The film was produced by MBC Studios, G-BASE, Thunder Road, and Capstone Studios, and is being distributed by the United Arab Emirates’ Eagle Films.

As well as the on-the-job training received by aspiring filmmakers, local businesses in Jeddah and AlUla also benefitted from the production.

Hotels hosted film crew, restaurants catered to large numbers of people working on the film, national airlines sold tickets, and local companies rented out equipment for filming, all providing a boost to the economy.

The Saudi Film Commission – which is involved in film productions in the country - was established in 2020 with the intention of developing the local film industry.

Vox Cinemas will also be hosting a special screening of Kandahar at the Banyan Tree Hotel in AlUla surrounded by the region’s spectacular outdoor scenery.

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