Rabat – The feature documentary Amussu, about an Amazigh (Berber) resistance movement against a silver mine in Morocco, has won the “Nouzha Drissi Grand Prix” at the 11th Agadir International Documentary Film Festival (FIDADOC).
Amassu, by director Nadir Bouhmouch, tells the story of a protest by the villagers of Imider, a remote Amazigh village in south-east Morocco, against the exploitation of water resources by the mining giant Managem. It was filmed in 2016, five years after the protests first began.
Yesterday, Bouhmouch expressed his gratitude for the prize. He added however that the award “can never replace [his] real objective: to defend the environmental and social rights of the community, to push for concrete change, to expose Managem corporation and force it to accept the demands of Amussu, and ultimately […] to challenge capitalism and the state everywhere.”
As part of its silver mining operations, Managem was siphoning groundwater, drying out crops and almond groves, and polluting drinking water with cyanide. Despite promises from Managem that the mine would bring economic growth to the community, few of the Imider villagers were employed by Managem and the area remained one of the poorest regions in Morocco.
In 2011, the villagers decided to occupy a major pipeline to the mine, shutting off Managem’s water supply in protest for their right to water, land, and economic opportunities. This marked the start of a six year sit-in.
“Amussu” was filmed in Tamazight (Berber) language, and adds to a small, but growing body of Amazigh cinema. Bouhmouch created the film in collaboration with the Imider community, who wrote the screenplay and produced the documentary.
The film was applauded by a near full house at the FIDADOC screening in Agadir on June 20. Villagers from Imider attended the event, answering questions about the film and the protest movement.
Members of the audience, in solidarity for Imider community’s fight for their rights, stood up and shared the hand gesture of Amazigh identity, raising their hands and forming the number “3” with their fingers.