'Sidi Moumen' follows young suicide bombers

Moroccan director Nabil Ayouch will direct and produce “Les etoiles de Sidi Moumen,” based on Mahi Binebine’s novel about Casablanca’s 2003 suicide bombings.

The $3.6 million project, which was selected for this year’s Cinefondation’s Atelier, has been set up as a co-production with Belgium’s Artemis Prods.

Ayouch’s French-based Les Films de Nouveau Monde and his Moroccan company Ali N’ Prods. is producing. Jamel Belmahi is writing the script.

French paybox Canal Plus and cabler Cinecinema have pre-bought TV rights.

The psychological drama-thriller turns on young suicide bombers involved in the attacks that killed 45 people, following five of them from their childhoods in the poor Casablanca suburbs up to the day of their deadly strike.

Ayouch said the event traumatized Moroccan society and prompted demonstrations in the aftermath.

“It’s not another film about how terrorists train or fabricate bombs but rather an intimate portrait of these kids who became the prey of religious fundamentalists,” said Ayouch. “The film also gives a sense of the larger geo-political context of Morocco, and the impact of the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. and the death of the King Hassan II on the national psyche.”

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