Former Berlinale Section Director to Head Revived Marrakech Film Festival

Christoph Terhechte, the former head of the Berlin Film Festival’s avant-garde Forum section, has been appointed artistic director of the Marrakech International Film Festival, which is being revived and revamped after a one-year hiatus.

Terhechte, who stepped down in May as chief of the prestigious Berlin sidebar, will be in charge of the upcoming 17th edition of Marrakech, which, after gaining prestige primarily as a launching pad for Arabic cinema, appears set to broaden its horizons.

The Marrakech fest is run by a foundation presided by Morocco’s Prince Moulay Rachid, the brother of King Mohammed VI. Last year, the foundation did not renew the contract of French company Le Public System Cinema, which organizes several events, including the Deauville American Film Festival.

The foundation said last year that it had decided to cancel the fest’s 2017 edition to “allow the festival to advance its mission not only to promote Moroccan cinema, but also to open up to other cultures.”

Melita Toscan du Plantier, who headed the Marrakech fest from 2003 to 2016, has now been appointed as an advisor to Prince Rachid.

Terhechte’s Marrakech programming team will comprise Ali Hajji, who is the fest’s former general coordinator; Rasha Salti, who has worked as a selector for various festivals, including Abu Dhabi and Toronto; film critic Anke Leweke, who has been a member of Berlin’s selection committee since 2002; and Remi Bonhomme, general coordinator of the Cannes Film Festival’s Critics’ Week.

Marrakech, which over the years has been attended by prominent U.S. talents such as Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola, Sigourney Weaver and Jessica Chastain, is being revived just as the Dubai Film Festival – which had been the Arab industry’s main launching pad and market – has been canceled. The two events used to partly overlap on the calendar at the end of the year.

Now Marrakech, which will run Nov. 30 to Dec. 8, will have Dubai’s December slot to itself.

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