Talal Selhmai’s “Achoura” won the Special Jury Prize on Saturday, October 12 at the prestigious Sitges Fantastic Film Festival in Spain.
Rabat – The horror film “Achoura,” directed by Talal Selhami, won the Special Jury Prize of the Sitges Fantastic Film Festival. The festival ran from October 3 to 13 in Sitges, Spain.
The festival’s jury presents the award to a film of notable artistic quality and production.
The French-Moroccan director worked with Moroccan producer Lamia Chraibi to create the horror film. Moroccan actors Omar Lotfi and Younes Bouab star in Achoura alongside Sofia Manousha, Ivan Gonzalez, Mohamed Choubi, and Moussa Masskri.
The horror film explores Moroccan urban legends, which have remained relatively untouched by contemporary cinema.
The film begins with four children in the Moroccan countryside entering a decrepit, protectorate-era house during the celebration of Achoura, a Moroccan holiday that commemorates the dead.
According to an urban legend, the house is home to a djinn, or ghost, named “Boughatate” that feeds on innocent children. Consequently, one of the four children mysteriously disappears while playing in the house.
25 years later, the missing child reappears—just as several children are kidnapped, signaling the return of Boughatate. The four friends, now adults, face the child-eating creature together.
Selhami’s six-year career
Shot in 2015 around Casablanca, Achoura premiered at the Paris International Fantastic Film Festival in December 2018 after three years of delays. The production team pushed back the release date in order to finalize the film’s special effects.
Selhami was committed to meeting international standards, and his dedication certainly paid off.
Achoura also won the grand prize at the Hard Line Festival in Germany in October 2018 and competed at the Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival in April 2019.
Selhami was born in Paris in 1982 and launched his career in 2003 with the short film “Patient X.” He then went on to direct five additional short films.
In 2010, Selhami entered the world of cinema with “Mirages.” He has since directed a total of five feature films and one documentary.
Achoura is expected to arrive at Moroccan cinemas in the near future.