Directed by British filmmaker Rupert Wyatt and starring A-listers Ben Kingsley, Anthony Mackie and Aiysha Hart, MBC Studios’ feature film Desert Warrior is set in seventh-century Arabia and filmed in Tabuk.
Bankrolling local talent and infrastructure as it bids to establish Saudi Arabia as a location and a film production hub, on top of shooting an epic action movie there, reliability and problem-solving were integral wants of the MBC logistics package.
Originally contracted to make just a few shipments for Desert Warrior, by the time Wyatt called ‘action’ EFM had managed the whole project – delivering cargo from 38 countries to provide for MBC Studios’ biggest movie production to date.
Unpredictable COVID restrictions the world over, strictly finite numbers in single UK spaces, sea freight prices and overbooking up, customer service levels and numbers working at ports down.
EFM organised for Desert Warrior props supplied by UK companies, and the people handling them, to distribute direct from its Egham warehouse, reducing a significant initial risk factor. With the majority of freight for the film going by sea, EFM’s practice and reputation across the market meant it managed to deliver for Desert Warrior, despite the odds.
One shipment of large containers from Sweden was complicated by its location, in a limited-access residential area. Having rounded that tight corner, EFM discovered expired export plates, re-routing via Stockholm for their renewal. And still made it to the pick-up point on time.
A COVID outbreak in Saudi shut filming for a matter of months. A number of individuals and companies didn’t want their cargo sitting idle, so EFM stepped up to arrange returns to source, handling the paperwork for everything staying put at the same time.
Timescales were tighter when the action restarted with several shipments sent directly to Saudi Arabia rather than via Dubai. That meant more complex customs procedures, absolute details of all the packed equipment with photographs, serial numbers et al, together with certain documents and approvals, which EFM’s Dubai office assisted with, clearing all obstacles.
Desert Warrior filming wrapped to its COVID-extended deadline. EFM safely returned all cargo to points of origin. A release date is pending. Saudi Arabia’s movie hub gathers pace.