Hollywood’s Dark Side?
Young extras in Morocco get a brush with fame, but there may be a cost
OUARZAZATE, Morocco – Strolling this town on the western edge of the Sahara Desert, you might hear a man relating a conversation he had with Brad Pitt. Or a 20-something talking about how he saw Tom Hanks on the street. Or a girl gushing about how beautiful Emilia Clarke is in person.
Ouarzazate may be far from Hollywood, which hosts the Oscars this weekend, but it is a well-established location for international film shoots. It already was a tourist center when Atlas Studios, one of Morocco’s biggest movie makers, brought film work here decades ago. Since then, the city has hosted productions such as “Gladiator,” “The Red Tent,” “Babel” and “Game of Thrones.”
With competition fierce, Morocco is poised to go after an even bigger piece of the pie. Parliament has approved a rebate on expenses of major film projects, which is expected to go into effect this year. Proponents say the rebate will create jobs. But it does nothing to reform a system in which film workers sometimes sign contracts they can’t read, or earn below minimum wage. Teachers and parents fret that the allure of film work – and the money it brings in – keeps too many kids out of school.
Click on the photo above for our story in US News & World Report.
So proud of our teams!
Also this week, I’d like to add my list of important sources of news and information. As US newspapers put enormous resources toward covering the new Trump administration — and rightly so — they can be expected to rely increasingly on the excellent non profit organizations providing them with investigative and foreign coverage.
So, in addition to Round Earth Media, I’d like to suggest two journalism non profits, producing investigative reporting, that deserve your support.
Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR)
Like foreign coverage, investigative reporting is essential but expensive and often the first to be cut by news outlets under financial pressure.
Thanks so much for your interest in reliable, fact-based journalism. Have a good weekend everyone!
P.S. Here again — in case you missed last week’s newsletter — are my personal go-to media outlets.