By Sarah Goodman and Ahlam Ben Saga
Rabat – The red carpet stretched from the street to the stairs, ushering the Moroccan film industry into Tangier’s Ahmed Boukmakh Cultural Center to inaugurate the 19th National Film Festival and to celebrate 60 years of the Moroccan cinema.
A range of actors, directors, producers, and politicians mingled in the neon-lit, neo-Moorish atrium of the Ahmed Boukmakh Cultural Center at the Friday evening opening. Distinguished guests included the Minister of Culture and Communication, Mohamed Laaraj; President of the Regional Council, Ilyas El Omari; President of the Municipal Council, Bachir Abdellaoui; and the Wali of Tanger-Tetouan-Al Hoceima regions, Mohamed El Yaakoubi.
Calling the festival a “platform for the meeting of minds and for communication,” El Yaakoubi welcomed the audience and industry members present. “This festival aims to develop Moroccan cinematic production and promote Moroccan film, which will enrich the [corpus of] Moroccan cinema. I congratulate everyone and wish success to the festival in its 19th edition.”
In addition to the selection of the films nominated this year, CCM organized a retrospective series of Moroccan films to celebrate 60 years of Moroccan cinema. Tangier’s Cinéma Rif hosted festival screenings of works considered classics in Moroccan cinema today, with films spanning the 1960s to the early 2000s.
CCM was originally established in 1944. While Morocco’s first national film festival was held in Rabat in 1982, Tangier first began hosting film festivals two decades earlier in 1968.
Moroccan filmmaker Mohammed Mouftakir, director Ismail Ferroukhi, journalist Jihane Bougrine, documentary filmmaker Raymond Zanchi, and French producer Alice Ormières sit on the the competition’s jury to decide the best films of the year.
“Lettre d’amour” by Soufiane Ait Majdoub, “Yto” by Noureddine Ayouch, “L’appel” by Maria Kenzi Lahlou, “Dernière photo” by Faical Hlimi, “Le retour du roi Lear” by Hicham El Ouali, “Roujoula” by Ilias Al Faris, “Ales” by Fayçal Ben, “Petite clair de lune,” by Rachid El Ouali, “Yara Zed” by Hamza Atifi, “Al Massrahia” by Khalid Douache, “Jour d’automne” by Imad Badi, “Les corbeaux” by Madane El Ghazouani, “Le depart” by Hamza Boumalki, “Silence du père” by Mounia Agoumi, and “Scénario” by Rachid Zaki.
“Volubilis” by Faouzi Bensaidi, “Razzia” by Nabil Ayouch, “Burn Out” by Nour-Eddine Lakhmari, “Apatride” by Narjiss Nejjar, “Jahilya” by Hicham Lasri, “Les voix du désert” by Daoud Aoulad Syad, “Lahnech” by Driss Mrini, “Le papillon” by Hamid Basket, “Kilikis, la cité des hiboux” by Az Alarabe Alaoui, “Le cri de l’âme” by Abdelilah El Jaouhary, “Tarantella” by Rabii El Jawhari, “Larmes de sable” d’Aziz Salmy, and “Korssa” by Abdellah Toukouna. Two documentaries were also nominated: “House in the fields” by Tala Hadid and “Silence des cellules” by Mohamed Nabil.