By Safaa Kasraoui
By Safaa Kasraoui
Rabat – Despite winning awards in festivals around the world, 34-year-old Moroccan filmmaker Raouf Sebbahi says that the “dream has just begun.” He currently directs the television series Moudawala and even presented a radio program for children at the age of seven.
In an interview with Morocco World News, Raouf Sebbahi shares his early life experiences, sources of inspiration, and plans for the future.
When he was asked about how his acting and directing career began, Sebbahi said that he was inspired by his blind father. “Having grown up with a blind father pushed me to get interested in images and their semiotics,” he stated. Sebbahi joined The Higher Institute of Cinema and Audiovisual (ISCA) right after obtaining his bachelor’s degree in Modern Literature in 2000. Three years later, he ended up with an audiovisual production degree and two short movies, including “My City” which had been awarded in several national festivals.
Sebbahi has also worked for the Moroccan national television as a filmmaker and TV programs designer. “I have worked on magazines, documentaries and fictions. In parallel, I got my MBA degree in writing and filmmaking in Cairo and I spent a long-period focusing on my fiction projects along with drama series and telefilms. I have made my first feature film El Ferdi in 2013,” Sebbahi said. He went on to add that he was able to receive the Moroccan Cinematographic Center aid fund in 2014, for his movie Hayat which was presented with Remi Award at the WorldFest-Houston Festival in April.
The filmmaker said that his acting career started when he performed in some episodes of Moudawala, a Moroccan series that talks about social issues. Sebbahi said that he is acting just for fun and that his dream has just begun. This role would also mark his first encounter with the show he would later direct.
Sebbahi has also discussed Hayat, his latest work, which enjoyed great success in several national and international events. Despite this success, the young filmmaker stated that he does not care about the accolades. “I actually do not care about prizes. Of course, when you get honored you get to experience that feeling of proudness, both of yourself and your country, but prizes have never been my key targets. I make movies for myself and for normal people. To me, prizes are just bonuses,” he mused.
Sebbahi told MWN that there is no doubt that he was inspired by his parents. “I fell in love with this field thanks to my parents. However, for the anecdote, my mother—God rest her soul—had always wanted me to be an architect, but my father helped me a lot to make my dream comes true and become a filmmaker instead.”
The filmmaker explained that he feels concerned about social issues, because some of them affect Morocco in a notable way and in different sectors, including health education and culture ” as a filmmaker I’m obliged to fight and highlight the most challenging issues
happening in my society. I may have no weapons, because I’m not a soldier. Therefore my only weapons are pictures and sounds.”
The director also said that his wife and his child are large parts of his success and happiness. “I’m married to a great woman that I’m deeply in love with, and I am a father of a lovely nine-year-old boy, and I make money, thanks to my passion.” Sebbahi added that he gets inspired by anything around his society: “It is in fact my source of inspiration. This helps me in making movies and will do so until the last day of my life.”
Regarding his future plans, Sebbahi said that he is currently shooting a new season of Moudawala. “[In terms of] cinema,” he added, “I am still fascinated by the success of Hayat.