'Aladdin' to be produced by Morocco's Chkiri brothers

MARRAKECH — In a ground-breaking move in a little known filmmaking community, Morocco’s C Brothers has moved into production on “Aladdin,” the first Berber-language puppet animation film.

Directed by first-timer Ebhheim Abdeni, pic turns on a little boy who confronts forest genies to win a book of knowledge, said Brahim Chkiri, one of the pic’s producers.

Berber, the language of Morocco’s original inhabitants, is still spoken by around 30% of Morocco’s 30 million population. A dubbed version will be made in Arabic, Chkiri added.

Owned by helmers Brahim and Hussein Chkiri and producer brother Rachid Chkiri, C Brothers forms part of the prolific pic production hub in Agadir, an Atlantic Ocean port four hours drive south from Casablanca.

C Brothers alone turns out 10 straight-to-DVD films a year, largely shoestring civic-minded social come-dies. But C Brothers ambitions are not limited to southern Morocco.

Brussels-born Brahim Chkiri is writing his first English-lingo project, an as- yet-untitled chiller about a night security guard working at a haunted hotel. Project is being developed as an international co-production.

Hardly a name, even in Morocco’s largely Casablanca-based filmmaking community, Chkiri looks set to become better known thanks to The Film Industry, a mega 30-film slate launched by Faical Laraichi, prexy of broadcaster SNR, and director Nabil Ayouch’s production label Ali N’ Production. Slate’s films break taboos and break in genre pic production in Morocco.

Chkiri directed nine Film Industry pics, including genie chiller “Elle,” “Deliverance”-style “Survival,” and “L’Enveloppe,” a witty, shoot ‘em up mobster pic with a winning perf from fellow Belgium-Moroccan Karim Boulaalamat as a cigar-chomping hitman who’s a dab hand with an electric drill.

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