Qatar, where’s that then?
What’s it like living in Qatar?
When we announced that we were moving to Qatar in 2016, our families kept asking us, ‘where’s that then?’. Unlike its neighbours, Dubai and Saudi, this small peninsula in the gulf was relatively unknown. Qatar land borders Saudi Arabia and is only an hour’s flight from its nearest neighbours, Bahrain, Dubai and Abu Dhabi. It’s now known to be one of the wealthiest countries in the world, alongside the safest.
In 2010 FIFA awarded Qatar the privilege of hosting the 2022 World Cup™. They are the first country in the Middle East ever to host this prestigious sporting event. As Qatar gears up to host this national event with years of ongoing construction, Qatar has already been used as a backdrop for filming a British drama. Episode 1 of BBC1’s recently drama, McMafia, was filmed in Qatar. The opening scenes featured the turquoise blue seas and stunning backgrounds of the Westbay, alongside chase scenes in Souq Waqif.
In the two years since I arrived in Doha, I have come to love the country I now call my second home. I love the unspoilt beauty of the deserts against the stark contrasts of the new spiralling new cities being built to accommodate the FIFA World Cup. I have learned that my name means Falcon in Arabic, and there is many a camel named Shaheen. Yes, it does get stifling hot during the summer months, 50 degrees can be unbearable sometimes, but you learn to work around the humidity. Surprisingly, it has cooler winter months, making it a fantastic place to live and the main reason FIFA moved the 2022 World Cup to December of that year.
Qatar as a Location
Qatar is famously known for its pearl fishing industry before discovering Petroleum and natural gas. The country has successfully seen rapid expansion whilst trying to hold onto its traditional values. It’s a great place to live. However, quieter than its neighbours, the cultural history of Qatar is impressive. Every day as construction continues, we have new trams to ride and roads to drive on, the diversity continues, and we get one step nearer to the World Cup and the vision of 2030. I love the family element, how safe this country is for my daughter, and how many opportunities it has given us.
The diverse landscape would provide a stunning backdrop for any production looking to shoot in the middle east with a more cultural feel. Qatar has everything from the bluest of seas and stunning deserts to sprawling cosmopolitan cities. It famously has a film city built in the desert called Media City and could easily accommodate any large movie production looking for original locations. Qatar is well equipped with local kit companies for hiring equipment and snazzy hotels to feed and water your crew.
Watch this space
I am so excited about welcoming the international film crews who will be descending here. There is so much diversity that Qatar could quickly provide your following location set for any production genre. The best thing about living in Qatar, the sun shines for most of the year. What else could a girl want? Living here allowed me to work in the media again, using my skills to connect with International Film Crews and help them locally. I hope this series of blogs will introduce you to Qatar, show you behind the scenes and give a glimpse of what you can expect to see when you visit.
Have you been to Qatar? If so, I would love to hear your thoughts. Get in touch with the team.