Moroccan movie “The Healer,” directed by Mohamed Zineddaine, has won the grand prize in the feature-length film category at the ninth Maghreb Film Festival of Oujda (FMFO).
The movie festival took place virtually from November 25-29 and saw the participation of six feature-length films and 12 short movies.
Released in 2018, “The Healer” follows the story of 16-year-old Abdou, a simple teen boy from the outskirts of a Moroccan mining town who aspires to learn how to read and write.
Abdou’s mother, however, forbids him from seeking education out of fear that he will someday leave his hometown.
Throughout the movie, the protagonist finds himself entangled between tradition and modernity, as well as science and superstition.
The movie previously featured in seven different film festivals in Morocco, Sweden, the Netherlands, Spain, and Jordan.
“The Healer” also earned five awards prior to the FMFO feature-length film grand prize. It won the Best Actress award at the Malmo Arab Film Festival in Sweden, as well as the Best Female Performance, Best Male Performance, Best Production, and Jury Award at the Tangier National Film Festival.
The FMFO award ceremony on Sunday also saw the crowning of Moroccan director Hassan Benjelloun as the best director in the feature-length film category for his 2019 movie “For the Cause.”
The Jury Award of the feature-length film category, meanwhile, went to Tunisian director Walid for his 2017 movie “Fataria.”
In the short movies category, the Grand Prize went to the Moroccan film “Perfume,” directed by Houcine Chani.
Tunisia’s Amine Lakhnech won the Best Director Award for his 2019 movie “True Story” and the Jury Award went to Moroccan director Karim Tajouaout and his film “Ghost of Spacetime.”
In a speech broadcast during the award ceremony, FMFO director Khalid Sli welcomed the success of this year’s festival, organized for the first time in a virtual format.
Sli highlighted that the festival’s audience went from “a few thousand” in previous years to 1.5 million spectators this year who watched at least one screening on the FMFO website or social networks.