This year’s Atlas Workshop participants will be known as the Class of Martin Scorsese.
Renowned US filmmaker Martin Scorsese has been appointed as the official patron for the sixth edition of the Atlas Workshops, the Marrakech International Film Festival’s industry programme dedicated to emerging talent from the African continent and the Arab world.
Scheduled from November 27 to 30, the sixth edition of the Atlas Workshops will coincide with the 20th edition of the Marrakech International Film Festival, taking place from November 24 to December 2, 2023.
Having a deep-rooted appreciation for the art of cinema, Scorsese is a long-time supporter of the Moroccan festival and has attended it five times. Notably, he chaired the festival’s jury in 2013 and paid tribute to Robert De Niro with an honorary presentation in 2018.
Scorsese is the first major artist invited to be the patron of the workshops, and will lend his name to this year’s cohort of filmmakers.
Speaking about the event, Scorsese said: “I am always happy to be returning to my beloved Marrakech Film Festival—when I haven’t been able to attend in person, I’ve always been there in spirit. For this very special anniversary edition of the festival, I have been entrusted with a precious task: to interact with young filmmakers and help guide them on their way. I look forward to seeing old friends, and to making new ones.”
The Atlas Workshops, introduced in 2018 by the Marrakech International Film Festival, serve as a platform for the advancement of emerging Moroccan, Arab, and African filmmakers. The programme fosters interaction between global industry professionals and local talent, aiding the growth of a fresh generation of filmmakers. Over its five previous editions, the Atlas Workshops have supported 111 projects and films, including 48 from Morocco.
The programme’s influence has been underscored by the success of several films at prestigious international festivals, culminating in awards. This underscores its role as a focal point for nurturing cinematic work from the Arab world and the African continent, especially the Middle East and North Africa region.
During the recent Cannes Film Festival, four films backed by the Atlas Workshops were showcased across different sections, achieving accolades and recognition. Notable among these were The Mother of All Lies by Asmae El Moudir from Morocco, receiving the Best Director award in Un Certain Regard; Kamal Lazraq’s Hounds, also from Morocco, securing the Un Certain Regard Jury Prize; Jordanian filmmaker Amjad Al Rasheed’s Inshallah a Boy, featured in Critics’ Week; and Deserts by Moroccan director Faouzi Bensaïdi, screened in Directors’ Fortnight.
The forthcoming iteration of the Atlas Workshops will be highlighted by Martin Scorsese’s active participation in various sessions with the attending project teams. This event inaugurates a novel tradition at the Marrakech International Film Festival, wherein a distinguished figure from global cinema will be invited annually to be the patron of the Atlas Workshops. In this regard, the participants of each year will be recognized as the “Class of” the respective patron. Thus, the filmmakers participating in the 2023 Atlas Workshops will be celebrated as the “Class of Martin Scorsese.”