“Clebs” won the coveted Crystal Bear award at the Berlinale film festival in February.
Rabat – Four Moroccan films are participating in Brazil’s 31st Sao Paulo International Short Film Festival, from August 20 to 30.
Among them is “Clebs,” a short film by Moroccan-Canadian filmmaker Halima Ouardiri. The documentary features Le Coeur sur la Patte animal sanctuary in Agadir.
The film draws parallels between the lives of Le Coeur sur la Patte’s 750 dogs anxiously awaiting adoption and the millions of refugees worldwide who are searching for shelter and security.
The Agadir sanctuary is the largest in Morocco and home to nearly 800 dogs. The sanctuary’s founder, Michele Augsburger, cares for 100 dogs and 200 cats in her own home.
“Clebs” won Best Short Film at the 70th Berlin International Film Festival (Berlinale) in February. In addition to the Crystal Bear, the Moroccan film earned a Special Prize of the International Jury.
The film offers a “glimpse of a world we’ve never seen before,” the festival’s jury remarked.
With “Clebs,” Ouardiri wants to “remind people that human beings are living under the worst conditions right now,” she explained after her win at Berlinale.
Also featuring in the Sao Paulo short film festival is “What if the goats die?” by French-Moroccan filmmaker Sofia Alaoui.
The film tells the story of a young mountain shepherd named Abdellah who, while trying to save his cattle in a snowstorm, encounters a supernatural phenomenon.
The festival is taking place virtually this year due to COVID-19. The public may access, free of charge, the 212 films selected to feature in the event on the festival’s website.
The festival also offers a program of conferences and seminars to be projected live on its social networks.
The Sao Paulo short film festival also offers parallel programs presenting “Beyond the Wall” by Moroccan director Aisha Jabour and “Bab Sebta” by Moroccan director Randa Maroufi.
The Moroccan films are 4 of 212 to make the cut, chosen from a pool of 3,000.
A total of 26 countries are participating in the festival, which features unreleased works as well as award-winning films from both established directors and budding talents.
“Bringing to the public such a diverse program that shows this immense plurality of gazes, accents and languages across the world makes us feel that we are helping to bring joy at such a difficult time,” said the director of the event, Zita Carvalhosa, in a press release.