The 15th edition of this Moroccan festival, organized by an association called “L’initiative Culturelle”, closed on Saturday, November 10th at the newly-renovated Rialto Cinema. The Turkish film More, directed by Onur Saylak, won the Grand Prix, in competition with 9 other feature films. More is about Gaza, a young man whose dreams of studying clash with the future his father has planned for him: helping him as a smuggler of illegal refugees. The Best Achievement Award went to Adil Arabi and Bilal Falah’s Gangsta. During the Awards Ceremony a tribute was paid to the Moroccan director and actor Hakim Noury.
The festivities began on November 5th with the screening of Diversité, a short film by Moroccan film-maker Mostapha Madmoun. He shot the film during last year’s festival, using the actors, directors and producers present.
The country invited this year was Benin, with the festival hosting a delegation of Benin actors, film-makers and journalists, led by producer/director Sylvestre Amoussou. The chair of the association “L’initiative Culturelle”, Driss Moubarik, said: “After the Ivory Coast in 2016 and Cameroon last year, the festival rolls out the red carpet this year for Benin as we try to bring the cinema of the continent closer to the Moroccan public.”
Chaired by the Cameroonian writer/director Bassek Ba Kobhio, also general delegate of the festival Ecrans Noirs, the jury included Tunisian director Farah Khadar, director and screenwriter Hassan Benjelloun and French-Algerian actor/ screenwriter Moussa Masskri.
In addition to the screenings, there were various workshops and a masterclass for students from Ibn Zohr University plus image education workshops for younger spectators. Finally, people living in rural areas were able to watch three Moroccan films thanks to the festival’s cinema caravan.