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Moroccan pair hang shingle

'Brackets' is standout at San Seb's Cinema in Motion section

SAN SEBASTIAN, Spain — Groundbreaking Moroccan filmmakers Hicham Falah and Mohamed Chrif-Tribak are setting up a Casablanca-based production house, Clipper Films.

The shingle is at an advanced stage on a film that looks to be one of the flagship North African productions of 2007, “In Brackets.”

Pic’s $1.5 million budget is high-end for a Moroccan production; most come in at half that or less.

Clipper’s founders are two of Morocco’s most talked-about young filmmakers. Their first directorial two-hander, 2003 short “Balcon Atlantico,” which captures people walking, meeting and talking on a walkway above the Atlantic, won numerous prizes.

“In Brackets” is their feature debut. Set in 1992-93 at North Morocco’s U. of Tetuan and based on real-life events, dramedy portrays the intellectual and sex lives of the last generation of truly politicized university students in Morocco and the gradual encroachment of Islamic fundamentalism on campus.

“The vast majority of students are now totally apathetic about politics. The Islamists won by a K.O.,” said Chrif-Tribak.

“Brackets” has received $242,000 from the Moroccan Film Center and is negotiating a further $200,000 or more from pubcaster 2M. Shot in Arabic, pic will roll next spring.

Actors will be young university students who, before shooting, will meet the real-life people on whom their roles are based, Falah said at the San Sebastian Film Festival. “Brackets” was a standout at fest’s second Cinema in Motion section, which showcased projects and unfinished productions from North Africa.

The San Sebastian fest org said Tuesday that Algerian Jean-Pierre Lledo’s docu “Ne restent dans l’Oued que ses galets” had won a clutch of Cinema in Motion prizes.

“Ne restent,” a painstaking analysis of religious tensions in Algeria, will receive a digital-to-35mm film transfer from Mikros Images, $19,000 from France’s CNC and a 35mm print of the film from the Amiens and Fribourg festivals.

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