- Title: Marrakesh International Film Festival kicks off
- Date: 4th December 2016
- Summary: ****WARNING CONTAINS FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY*** JURY MEMBERS WALKING TOGETHER ON THE RED CARPET PHOTOGRAPHERS JURY MEMBERS ON RED CARPET DURING PHOTOCALL CINEMA GOERS INSIDE THE FESTIVAL VENUE
- Embargoed: 19th December 2016 14:43
- Keywords: film festival FIFM film
- Location: MARRAKESH AND RABAT, MOROCCO
- City: MARRAKESH AND RABAT, MOROCCO
- Country: Morocco
- Reuters ID: LVA0035BGWVO5
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: The 16th edition of the Marrakesh International Film Festival kicked off in the Moroccan capital on Friday (December 2), with actors, directors and producers from around the world walking the red carpet for the opening ceremony.
This year, filmmakers were given a prominent place on the red carpet. Festival director Melita Tosca de Plantier said the "many great filmmakers" in attendance were what distinguished this edition from others.
"This year, there are many directors and filmmakers who are representing the entire world. It is very important. The whole world is in Marrakech. We have to say it. There are also many beautiful films and lots of directors. It is what distinguishes this edition, many great filmmakers," Plantier added.
But despite the presence of several Moroccan actors and filmmakers at the ceremony, not one Moroccan film was running in the official competition.
The two Moroccan films included in the festival's line-up - 'Majid' and 'My Uncle' - will screen out of competition.
Executive vice president of the festival foundation and chairman of the Moroccan cinema centre, Mohamed Sarim El Haq Fassi Fihri, said that this was because the Moroccan contributors to the festival were "not ready" for this edition.
"It is dishonouring to make a positive discrimination for Moroccan cinema. There are some Moroccan films outside the competition but our prominent film makers who are regular contributors to the festival are not ready nor are their films. Noureddine Lakhmari is not ready. Daoud (Daoud-Abdel Sayed) is not ready. Faouzi Bensaidi is not ready. Narjis Najjar is not ready, Leila Kilani is not ready and there are others who are not ready. We were not convinced but what we saw to be at the level of the competition and the level of the other films in the competition. It does not mean it is a catastrophe, only the films are not ready," he said.
However, the chairman of the National Coalition for the Development of the Cinema and Broadcasting Industry (CNDICA), Mohamed Abderrahman Tazi, said the organisation denounced this opinion.
"We say that it is not acceptable because there are large amounts of money spent to promote Moroccan cinema even if these amounts need to be increased. There are some good films. We cannot judge them and say they cannot take part in this festival because of their low level," he said.
There are no Egyptian films running in competition this year either.
On the red carpet, Egyptian actress Yousra said that Egyptian cinema and Arab cinema in general was going through a "difficult phase."
"But we will certainly overcome this period. We will win and come back to our previous level," she added.
The festival is expected to honour the careers of several individuals in the industry including French actress Isabelle Adjani, Japanese director Shinya Tsukamoto and Moroccan comic actor Abderrahim Tounsi, also known as Abderraouf.
"Thanks God. I cannot say a lot about being feted by the festival because it means a lot to me. All this is thanks to Allah. I thank him because I was honoured while I am still alive and not after my death," Tounsi told Reuters on the red carpet.
The festival, which runs until December 10, will also include posthumous tributes to Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami and Moroccan filmmaker Abdellah Masbahi.
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