The Atlas Workshops, which will extend for four days during the film festival, will welcome 270 international professionals to develop and support Moroccan, Arab and African films.
The 18th edition of the Marrakech International Film Festival kicked off on November 29 and will continue until December 7. The festival will host its second-edition of Atlas Workshops, a platform aimed at driving the new wave of African and Arab cinema.
Kicking off the film festival on November 29 in Morocco, jury president Tilda Swinton said: “The Marrakech Film Festival is a legend. It’s a beacon for cineastes around the world who come from all stretches of our planet to meet under the African sky, which gives its blessing on all us. It’s a privilege to be here.”
For its second edition from December 3 to 7, the Atlas Workshops will support 28 projects in development and films in post-production selected from among some 130 submissions. The selected projects represent 13 Moroccan filmmakers and 14 countries including certain territories that are rarely showcased on screens (Comoros, Djibouti, Mozambique, and Tanzania).
Teams from 10 projects in development and six films in post-production will enjoy mentoring sessions from international industry professionals and compete for grants totalling MAD640,000 (over $66,000). In parallel, the Atlas Workshops will extend its programme with two new initiatives.
Many of the projects in the competition are by upcoming filmmakers, but also include established names such as Egypt’s Tamer el Saïd (In the Last Days of the City), who has a second feature in development, and Morocco’s Leïla Kilani (On the Edge), who will present the rough-cut of her second feature, Joint Possession.
The Atlas Close-Ups programme will host six Moroccan projects, while the Atlas Films Showcase will provide a first look at three films made by established filmmakers to festival programmers. The Atlas Workshops will also showcase the documentary genre, welcoming four African documentary makers to participate in Hot Docs – Blue Ice Group.
The Atlas Workshops 2019 will also feature round-table discussions during which professionals will share their experiences and thoughts on African and Middle-Eastern cinema. In particular, this edition will shed light on writing for genre cinema, which is currently enjoying a resurgence in the Arab world and on the African continent. It will also explore the network model, welcoming 16 members of the Network of Alternative Arab Screens.
Netflix is sponsoring the event and will have three executives attending, headed by Claire Willats, who is also a jury member for the workshops.
Over the course of four days, the Atlas Workshops will welcome 270 international professionals to develop and support Moroccan, Arab and African films.