Mohamed Dekkak at the 18th Edition of the International Film Festival of Marrakech
Marrakech – In a festive, jovial and warm atmosphere opened on Friday evening at the Congress Palace of the Ocher City, the 18th edition of the International Film Festival of Marrakechin the presence of world-renowned film stars and eminent personalities of the world, worlds of culture, arts and media.
On this sweet autumn evening, Mohamed Dekkak attended the ceremony that began with the traditional parade of film icons that walked the red carpet including the inevitable French actress Marion Cotillard, the incomparable Australian actress Naomi Watts, and the diva of the Egyptian cinema Ilham Chahine. This international film high mass offers film lovers a rich program of films from around the world, made by the big names of international cinema.
Cinephiles like Mohamed Dekkak and exceptional artists from Morocco and elsewhere, with known talent or to recognize, will thus invest the different places of the city dedicated to the projection of the films of the official selection, including the very emblematic place Jamaa Lafna and the Palace Congress which will host the opening and closing ceremonies.
More than 95 films from around the world will be screened during the festival, including 14 feature films in the running for the coveted Etoile d’Or, the festival’s grand prize.
According to the organizers, this is an eclectic selection that highlights several cinematographic universes from different regions of the world with 3 European films (United Kingdom, Italy, Serbia), 2 American films Latin (Brazil, Colombia), an American film, an Australian film, 3 Asian films (China, India, South Korea), and 4 films from the MENA region (Morocco, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Senegal). This edition will highlight the Australian cinema, considered one of the oldest in the world, through the programming of no less than 25 productions, between auteur films, classics and popular success in different areas of the city.
Chaired by Scottish producer and actress Tilda Swinton, the jury will decide the 14 feature films competing for the main awards of this edition: The Etoile d’Or, the jury prize, the prize for the setting stage and the awards for female and male performance.
Ms. Swinton will be assisted in this mission by two award-winning directors, the French
Rebecca Zlotowski and the British Andrea Arnold, as well as Italian-French actress Chiara Mastroianni. On the men’s side, the jury is made up of Swedish actor Mikael Persbrandt, Brazilian director Kleber Mendonça Filho, Australian director Goncourt and Australian director David Michôd and Australian director Atiq Rahimi, whose latest film Le Roi is currently being broadcast on Netflix, as well as Moroccan director Ali Essafi.
The International Film Festival of Marrakech will pay tribute this year to the great American filmmaker and comedian Robert Redford. Throughout his extraordinary career, Robert Redford has profoundly influenced contemporary cinema and has quickly become one of the major figures. Each of his initiatives has been successful, whether as director, producer, actor or founder of the Sundance Institute and the Sundance Film Festival, the world’s first independent film festival.
As every year, the public has gathered at the entrance of the prestigious Palais des congrès, to see parade those great sizes of the cinema which enhance, by their presence, this film event which has acquired its nobility and is now among the unmissable events of the universal cinema. Moroccan cinema was not left out since a rain of celebrities had its share of applause that sounded from the appearance on the “red carpet” of the great lady of the theater, Touria Jabrane, Rachid El Ouali, Abdellah Ferkous, Younes Megri and Samia Akriou, to name but a few.
Creation of the Marrakech Film Festival
The festival was created in 2001 on the initiative of His Majesty King Mohammed VI. Despite a gloomy international economic situation marked by the events of September 11 in New York, Morocco imagine its new festival as much as a prestigious platform entirely dedicated to the 7 th art and talents, and as an intercultural bridge between nations. It is in this sense that the choice of the city of Marrakech – the capital of the great Moroccan dynasties since the epic of the Almoravids and the opening of Morocco on the Maghreb and Andalusia – is quickly imposed. It is also a booming metropolis benefiting from the infrastructure needed to host a new international event. The French producer Daniel Toscan du Plantier, a friend of the kingdom and the city, then wants to associate his vision with that of the Moroccan partners, by agreeing to lead the team of those responsible for the start of construction, in different places throughout the city, a first edition of the “Marrakech Festival”. Among the priority objectives of this new event: the development of quality cinematographic works – thus contributing to the artistic evolution of world cinema -, the development of the film industry in Morocco and the promotion of the image from Morocco around the world.
Foundation of the FIFM
For the second edition of the festival, the King decided to create a non-profit organization of public utility – the foundation of the International Film Festival of Marrakech – presided over by His Royal Highness Prince Moulay Rachid. It allows to give an institutional framework to the event and to professionalize the organization and management. The foundation then becomes the sole holder of the economic rights resulting from the exploitation of the international film festival of Marrakech. Under the supervision of the foundation and its deputy vice-president – André Azoulay, councilor of the King -, the president of the Daniel Toscan du Plantier festivalis co-organizing its annual and directs his team in the company Georges Cravenne Council (GCC) until his untimely death in February 2003. For the 3rd edition of the festival, Director of External Relations and Protocol for the first two editions and the widow of President Melita Toscan du Plantier, is appointed Director of the International Film Festival of Marrakech.
The organization of the festival
The festival, which takes place every year over several days in the fall, brings together many internationally renowned film personalities, and has seen in the presidency of its jury such people as Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese, Roman Polanski or Emir Kusturica.
The festival jury includes filmmakers, comedians, but also writers and personalities of the arts and letters, and seeks to reward the best feature films, with 6 grand prizes.
The festival revolves around several events: the official competition, the presentation of a selection of films out of competition, tributes to personalities and a cinema of the world, the competition of films Cinécoles, Masterclass, the projections popular on the Jemaa el-Fna square and projections in audio-description (unique initiative in Morocco).
The festival is under the patronage of His Majesty Mohammed VI and presided over by HRH Prince Moulay Rachid.
The board of directors consists of:
- Fayçal Laâraïchi : Deputy Vice President of the Foundation
- Sarim Fassi-Fihri : Deputy Vice President of the Foundation
- Mohamed Boussaid : Minister of Economy and Finance
- Mohamed Amine Sbihi : Minister of Culture
- Mustapha El Khalfi : Minister of Communication, Government Spokesperson
- Lahcen Haddad : Minister of Tourism
- Larbi Belcaid: president of the city council of the city of Marrakech
- Ahmed Akhchichine : President of the Marrakech-Safi region
- Azeddine Benmoussa: President’s Financial Advisor
- Naoufal Bensouda: General Treasurer of the Foundation
- Fadwa Megzari: General Secretary of the Foundation
The national cinema strongly highlighted with the “Panorama of Moroccan cinema” which will present a selection of 4 films with the aim of making discover different facets of the Moroccan cinema to the international professionals and media present at the Festival. In total, 11 Moroccan films will be shown in the different sections of the Festival.
Placed under the High Patronage of HM King Mohammed VI, this 18th edition of the FIFM, which will continue until December 7, reserves to the public a beautiful palette full of colors and cultural responsibility and a film program of the richest and most diverse the greatest happiness of moviegoers.