Sunday, October 13, 2013

Help Fund Documentary on the Gardens of Fez

Gardens of Fez is a 60 minute documentary about the gardens of Fez in Morocco. In the words of the filmmaker, Heidi Vogels, the documentary will show the gardens through the stories of people of Fez - "the film shows the garden as a miniature of countless landscapes: imaginary spaces of memory, poetry and thought that interweave with the spaces of the city."

Heidi Vogels is a visual artist based in Amsterdam. Working in research based projects in photography and video, she has investigated gardens and urban landscape in many international art projects in The Netherlands, Germany, Spain and Korea, in collaboration with architects, curators and artists.

Heidi Vogels

The Gardens of Fez - some background

Fez was once renown for her abundance of green spaces, where the gardens not just created a miniature landscape, but depicted a culture of living together, thanks to a special relation of the city with water. The city is build along a river, in a valley filled with springs. Until 30 years ago, garden plots and orchards formed a green belt around the city walls. In the labyrinth of the Medina high walls enclosed the gardens of palaces and riads, and the rooftops were filled with medicinal plants and herbs.

During the last 50 years, because of reasons such as modernisation, pollution, privatisation of the water system, lack of awareness and general economical decline, many gardens of the Medina disappeared. Gardens and their special position in everyday life seem to slowly vanish. However, because these developments took place in a relative short period of time, memories and stories are much alive.

What gardens there are are still used in different ways. In spring, Melhoun musicians perform in riad gardens, friends meet in the park Jnan Sbil, and on Fridays and Sundays families go for a picnic in the surrounding hills. However,

The film opens with a scene on a rooftop in the Medina. It is the end of the day, the sun is about to set and we look out over rooftops and terraces. There are three people on the terrace who seem to be preparing a theatre play. They are rehearsing dialogues. From this rooftop the documentary sets off for a journey through a labyrinth of alleyways: the oldest, biggest and best preserved medina of the Arab world that once enclosed many gardens. The opening scene emphasises the aspect of the garden that is to create an imaginary space. As the first space that we create is through language, through our imagination and thought.

The film loosely blends captured images of the city spaces, park and gardens, with portraits and stories of ten people whose lives are closely connected with the gardens of the city. From a gardener in his home with his family, to an architect who renovated the city park, from the park technician who never leaves the park, to a blind student in philosophy. Some characters are connected to each other in different situations, some are not. The connecting elements are the different dimensions of nature in the Medina. While the film meanders along private and public spaces, the gardens of Fez form an imaginative and contemporary landscape: a bocage through which patches of time, reality and fiction appear and disappear.

Help fund the documentary

The film aims to look at the gardens of the medina and their affiliations, to recollect and enhance an intricate web of social and cultural relations in a visual and poetic play of encounter and narration. Exactly now, before these spaces and their memories and stories will be forgotten.

Furthermore, the documentary feeds into the discussion concerning green spaces in Fez and in urban spaces in general, and aims to reach a wide audience: local, regional and international at film festivals world wide.

The documentary is the direct result of an artistic research which Heidi Vogels initiated in Fez in October 2011, exactly two years ago. Ever since, the project found support in the people of Fez who contributed in their time and friendship. Next to that there were contributions in kind by partners in Fez (Culture Vultures Fez, Institute Francais Fez) and financially by the Dutch Culture funds: AFK, Prins Bernhard Cultuur Fonds, Step Beyond and Roberto Cimetti Fund.

For the shooting of the documentary in Fez October 11 - 31, 2013, there is still a need to raise 2000 Euro to complete the budget. The shooting will take place in Fez, October 11 - 31 with a small team consisting director Heidi Vogels, camera, Benito Strangio, sound, Marjo Postma, and assistant Omar Daroudi. Camera: C300, light: natural.

To support the making of the documentary please visit and give generously!

The View from Fez is a supporter

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