Production moves from Tunisia to desert dunes of Mesaieed.

In this first image from the set of Black Gold, Antonio Banderas stars as Nessib, ruler of the kingdom of Hobeika, one of two rival emirs in Arabia in the 1930s.

The cast also features Tahar Rahim, Freida Pinto, Mark Strong, Riz Ahmed and Liya Kebede. Jean-Jacques Annaud directs, and the shoot has just moved to Qatar after shooting in Tunisia since October.

In the first major international film shoot in Qatar, the project will shoot battles scenes for four weeks in the desert dunes of Mesaieed.

The film is co-produced by Tarak Ben Ammar’s Quinta Communications and the Doha Film Institute.

Warner Bros and Universal Pictures International will distribute the film worldwide.

The epic adventure is adapted from Hans Reusch’s The Great Thirst.

Producer Tarak Ben Ammar said: “I am delighted to have started filming in Qatar.  We are filming in some of the world’s most stunning desert landscapes and that will help Black Gold look even more spectacular. Also, filming here gives me the opportunity to support and encourage the Doha Film Institute’s vision of building a sustainable film infrastructure in the country”.

Amanda Palmer, Executive Director of DFI, added: “Black Gold is the first major international co-production for The Doha Film Insitute and Qatar. A large scale production is a challenging and ambitious start for DFI’s co-production, but this film will give us the experience and know-how to build the beginnings of a dynamic film industry in Qatar.