Sunday, January 29, 2012

Fez Film-makers Share Vision

Documentary maker Youness Abeddour                                              Photo: Suzanna Clarke
Youness Abeddour is a young film-maker from Fez whose work is taking him places. As one of the first students to graduate from an innovative documentary making course in Fez, he has directed two films and is set to show his first one at a conference in Prague. 

Youness, 23, showed his new documentary to an audience for the first time last Thursday. Made with fellow Cultural Studies students from Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdellah University, My Neighbor...the Jew was a thought provoking piece which follows on from his first film Moroccan Judaism: A Culture in Danger. 

"I completed my BA in English studies in 2009 on "The Presence of the Mellah in Morocco" The current one I am working on is on "The Representation of Moroccan Jews in Moroccan Cinema" said Youness. "My thesis was 100 pages long and is only accessible to a small group of people. But now I have learned documentary film techniques, I can transmit the same message in 30 minutes and I hope it will be seen much more widely."

The impact of cultural collisions was one of the major themes of the five documentary films shown at the media center of Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdellah University on Thursday.  Professor Khalid Bekkaoui, Professor and Chair of the Department of English, said that he was delighted by the results of the documentary course, which is co-sponsored by the American Language Center Fes and the Fulbright Commission.

Documentary students and staff from the university
"The students have been creative and innovative, although they have only recently learned how to make documentaries," Professor Bekkaoui said. "This is the first course in Morocco to offer a combination of the technical skills and the academic side, which teaches students how to research ideas and turn them into stories...We hope to make Fes a center for documentary film-making in Morocco."

 The works shown at the premiere showcase were primarily about cultural differences and change. They also included Do We Have Political Freedom in Morocco?, McDonaldization and Moroccan Culture, Youth & Sufism and America in the Eyes of Moroccan Hairdressing Salons.

Course supervisor, Jamal Morelli, said he was also proud of what the students had achieved, particularly given the limited resources they had had access to. "We hope in future to get good software and more powerful computers, so that we can take production to the next level," he said.

Another showing of the works is planned for a few months time, so there will be the opportunity for those interested to see them then.

You can see the trailer for Moroccan Judaism: A Culture in Danger HERE.


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