It still vexes many Egyptians that the scenes set in Egypt in the Oscar-winning film The English Patient were shot in Tunisia.
But that could change for future films, as a vast Red Sea tourism resort, being developed by Kuwait's Kharafi Group, wants Britain's Pinewood Studios to set up in Egypt to tap the potential of the country as a location for film sets.
"There is a hidden demand for such activities," said Adel Rady, the chairman and managing director of Marsa Alam Tourism Development, part of the Kharafi Group. "The desert presents an attraction for a lot of movies. This is missing in Egypt. Egypt does not have such studios and capability, so it's a need."
Negotiations first started with Pinewood, the film studio that is best known for the James Bond franchise, about two years ago, Mr Rady said, adding that the tourism development group had now decided to revisit the plans.
"It was postponed for the revolution and what happened in Egypt in 2011, but still the subject is hanging." Mr Rady said he had already started fresh talks with Egypt's government bodies to try to establish a free zone for the venture. "Once we succeed, we will resume with Pinewood."
Pinewood Studios declined to comment. The film and television group operates in five countries, including Malaysia and the Dominican Republic, with more than 1,000,000 square feet of stage and studio space.
Kharafi is the master developer of a luxury tourism project, Port Ghalib in Marsa Alam, located along the Red Sea coast. The film studios would be part of the US$2 billion (Dh7.34bn) Port Ghalib development.
To date, four hotels, a marina, a convention centre, and homes have been developed as part of the first phase on an isolated stretch of coast. Kharafi has also built an international airport in Marsa Alam.
The financial arrangement for the studios are likely to be based on a partnership in which other investors would be brought on board. The area could be developed into a media production hub, Mr Rady added.
"Maybe it would not be only Pinewood," he said. "Once you have this free zone, you can attract other big names."
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