A new dawn for Arab cinema will arrive when Casablanca lights the flame of the first Arab film festival in Morocco December 10-15.
Rabat – The inaugurative festival faced several organizational and financial stumbling blocks in the beginning. However, the festival will finally see the light thanks to a partnership between the Imtidad Association for Culture and Development and the city council of Casablanca supported by the Ministry of Culture and Communication and the Ministry of Youth and Sports.
The first Casablanca Arab Film Festival will award a best picture prize at the closing ceremony.
Eight films have been nominated for the award: “Diamond Dust” by Marwan Hamed, “The Journey” by Mohamed al-Daraji, “The Guest Aleppo to Istanbul” by Andac Haznedaroglu, “Volubilis” by Faouzi Bensaidi, “Dear Son” by Mohamed Ben Attia, “Until the End of Time” by Yasmine Chouikh, “Writing On Snow” by Rashid Masharawi, and “Camera” by Abdullah Al Junaibi.
The festival will showcase a collection of Arab and Moroccan movies, beyond those in the running for the award: “Karma” by Khaled Youssef, “Solitaire” by Sophie Boutros, “Only Men Go to the Grave” by Abdulla Alkaabi, “Barakah Meets Barakah” by Mahmoud Sabbagh, “El Jaida” by Selma Baccar, “Theeb” by Naji Abu Nowar, “3000 Nights” by Mai Masri, “Sotto Voce” by Kamal Kamal, “Khnifist R’mad” by Sanaa Akroud, “The Orchestra of Blinds” by Mohamed Mouftakir, “In Wonderland” by Jihan El Bahhar, and “Yesterday’s Friends” by Hassan Benjelloun.
The festival is a wish come true for film critics and Arab film buffs who have wanted an Arab film festival in Morocco.
Casablanca, where many Moroccan movies are produced, is notable for its well-equipped film studios, developed film infrastructure, and low production costs.
“The festival is the first of its kind in Morocco. We have dozens of film festivals in the country, but none of them focuses entirely on Arab Film. Also, it is the first big cinema event to be held in Casablanca,” said the director of the Casablanca Arab Film Festival, broadcaster Fatima Al-Nawali,
The festival will host workshops, roundtables, and a symposium centered on the current issues facing Arab cinema and the future of cooperation across all components of the film industry.
The festival will also organize training workshops for young movie makers by giving them opportunities to meet professional filmmakers to develop their potential and knowledge in the field.
The Casablanca Arab Film Festival’s official poster features an image from the Egyptian film “Our Beautiful Days.” The image shows the main characters of the film walking together with Casablanca landmarks in the background, indicating that Arab cinema is synonymous with beautiful days.