You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘Kilometers 60,’ ‘Gunpowder,’ ‘Fish’ Win at Marrakech’s Atlas Workshops

Hassen Ferhani’s “Kilometers 60” won the €20,000 ($22,700) post-production prize Wednesday at Marrakech Film Festival’s Atlas Workshops, a four-day fast-track program for 14 projects from Africa. The Atlas Workshops, one of the key innovations of this year’s festival, were sponsored by Netflix and coordinated by Remi Bonhomme, program manager of the Cannes’ Critics’ Week.

“Kilometers 60,” a documentary about an elderly lady who runs a tiny café on a highway in Algeria, is described by Ferhani as a “road movie that stays in one place.” It is produced by Allers Retours Films and Centrale Electrique. His previous feature, “Roundabout in My Head,” was a hit on the festival circuit. The helmer said that he was delighted to receive the prize and the overall experience of attending the workshop in particular in terms of the editing advice provided.

Six projects competed for the prize, with a jury formed by Match Factory’s Zsuzsi Bánkuti, Moroccan producer Saïd Hamich and Cannes Critics Week’s artistic director Charles Tesson.

The €10,000 ($11,300) development prize was awarded to Inadelso Cossa’s documentary “The Nights Still Smell of Gunpowder,” which uses found footage to explore his own memories of the Mozambican civil war, in which his grandmother sheltered him as a child from the horrors of the war through fictions such as telling him that the nightly gunfire was fireworks. Cossa said that he was delighted by the award and the film-friendly atmosphere at Marrakech.

The jury was formed by producer Joslyn Barnes, director Philippe Lacôte and Netflix exec Funa Maduka.

Aida Elkashef’s “The Day I Ate the Fish,” about Egyptian women imprisoned in Cairo because they murdered their husbands, won the $3,000 NAAS prize for film circulation, and she will be invited to present the film in the Network of Arab Alternative Screens.

The jury was formed by exhibitors Amel Saadallah, Mosa Rahmat Alla and Ibrahim Saad.

The event significantly reinforces Marrakech’s industry dimension, with more than 200 participants, including producers and directors from the Arab world and Africa, leading sales agents and 40 festival programmers.

Funa Maduka, Netflix’s development and acquisitions executive, who attended the event, stated that it was extremely beneficial to see projects at this stage and meet the respective directors and producers.

The festival programmers attending the workshops included Bero Beyer (Rotterdam), Karel Och (Karlovy Vary), Mohamed Hefzy (Cairo), Christian Jeune, Charles Tesson and Valentina Novati (Cannes), Alessandra Speciale and Teresa Cavina (Venice), Orwa Nyrabia (IDFA), Antoine Thirion (Locarno), Nejib Ayed (Carthage) and Jay Jeon (Pusan).

“The leading big and small festivals are all here,” says Christoph Terhechte, Marrakech’s artistic director. “Programmers are the festival goers who travel the most, and who can spread the word the easiest. Their appreciation is vitally important for a festival and an industry workshop to sustain itself.”

The Atlas Workshops aim to create a platform that will leverage links between Moroccan filmmakers and the international market, and create a new industry hub for Arab and African filmmakers.

Bonhomme worked for 10 years in Lebanon as attaché for cultural events to the French embassy and his work at Cannes’ Critics’ Week has also furthered his sensibility toward the region.

“In Arab and African countries there are many cinephiles, but few national funds and a shortage of screens, especially arthouse cinemas;” Bonhomme said. “We want to foster greater regional collaboration through the workshops, in terms of both coproductions and artistic collaboration across the region, which younger filmmakers are particularly open to.”

Bonhomme said he is delighted having Netflix on board: “Netflix is potentially a very strong player for Africa given the lack of cinemas and cross-border links in the region. It’s a new avenue for filmmakers and producers. The African continent is a big challenge and has significant market potential and it’s great to have them with us for the first edition.”

Presentations made during the workshops included Cameron Bailey, artistic director and co-head of the Toronto Intl. Film Festival, who talked about how to foster stronger links between international film festivals and African cinema.

Bailey talked about his experience at Toronto with the Planet Africa sidebar, which ran between 1995 and 2004, and events such as City to City Lagos in 2016, which he curated with advice from Netflix’s Funa Maduka.

He said that in the 1990s there was major visibility of films related to Africa, Afro-American issues and the African diaspora, which then diminished somewhat in the early 2000s, but is now gaining renewed prominence.

“Audiences are trained to look for European art cinema and Hollywood cinema, and tend to read films through those two lenses. African films have different cinematic codes.”

He cited films such as Genevieve Nnaji’s “Lionheart,” Netflix’s first original film from Nigeria. “Films like Lionheart is what we’re looking for at a festival like Toronto: a very local cinematic culture that can speak to the whole world.”

Like many participants at the workshops, Bailey considers that there is tremendous potential for closer ties between the Maghreb countries in North Africa and the sub-Saharan African countries. “I respect the major distinctions across the continent, but I’d love to see more connections and greater dialogue. I think with greater dialogue African cinema can achieve a reinforced presence on the world stage.”

More Film

  • Emma Thompson

    Emma Thompson Exits Skydance Animation Movie 'Luck' Over John Lasseter Hire

    Emma Thompson has dropped out of the voice cast of Skydance Animation’s upcoming film “Luck,” a spokesperson for the actress told Variety. The beloved British star did some recording for the project, but dropped out in January, following John Lasseter’s hire to the top animation job at David Ellison’s studio, an insider close to the [...]

  • Daniel Kaluuya Lakeith Stanfield

    Daniel Kaluuya, Lakeith Stanfield in Talks to Star in Film About Black Panther Party Leader

    Daniel Kaluuya and Lakeith Stanfield are in negotiations to star in the historical drama “Jesus Was My Homeboy” about Black Panther Party leader Fred Hampton. The project is set up at Warner Bros. with “Black Panther” director Ryan Coogler producing along with Charles King through his Marco production company. Executive producers are Sev Ohanian, Zinzi [...]

  • Watch First Trailer for Motley Crue

    Watch First Trailer for Motley Crue Biopic 'The Dirt'

    Netflix has dropped the first trailer for its Motley Crue biopic “The Dirt” — based on Neil Strauss’ best-selling history of the legendarily bad-behaved ‘80s metal icons — and it looks like the film pulls no punches in terms of the band’s famously sordid history. In this two-minute trailer, we get glimpses of singer Vince [...]

  • ‘Tomorrow and Thereafter,’ ‘Diane Has the

    MyFrenchFilmFestival Prizes ‘Tomorrow and Thereafter,’ ‘Diane Has the Right Shape’

    Actress-director Noémie Lvovsky’s “Tomorrow And Thereafter,” a heartfelt homage to the director’s own mother, and Fabien Gorgeart’s “Diane Has the Right Shape,” about one woman’s surrogate motherhood, both won big at the 2019 UniFrance MyFrenchFilmFestival which skewed female in its winners and viewership, making particularly notable inroads into South East Asia and Latin America. Opening [...]

  • Vue International Chief Slams BAFTA For

    Vue International Chief Slams BAFTA for Awarding Prizes to 'Roma'

    Tim Richards, the founder and chief executive of Vue International, one of the largest cinema chains in Europe, has slammed the British Academy of Film and Television Arts for awarding prizes to Netflix’s “Roma.” Alfonso Cuaron’s black-and-white film, which is also up for several Oscars, won four BAFTAs at the awards ceremony in London on [...]

  • Oscars Ultimate Party Guide

    Oscar's Ultimate Party Guide 2019

    Welcome to Oscar week. It’s the time of year when Hollywood’s film industry celebrates all things movies. But it’s certainly not just the big show everyone is looking forward to. With voting closed, it’s all about the parties now. Who’s doing what and where and when are they doing it are the questions everyone is [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content