The FIFM has this singularity of bringing together young talents and big names in cinema

After nine days of screenings and discussions, the 19e edition of the Marrakech International Film Festival (FIFM), ended on Saturday evening, in a magical atmosphere marked by the awarding of the Prizes, but also the tribute paid to Tilda Swinton, the Scottish actress and producer.

This 19th edition of the FIFM is not like the others. It marked the return of the Festival after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, which delighted the organizers, in particular Ali Hajji, general coordinator of the Festival, who confided in MoroccoLatestNews UK.

In reality the Festival during these two years did not completely stop. There have been two online editions of the Atlas workshops, which is the talent development industries platform, which was launched by the festival in 2018, and which supports emerging filmmakers from Morocco and the Arab world and from Africa. So there are two online editions each time with the participation of more than 300 international professionals who were there to discover the projects and films in development and post-production, selected within the framework of the Atlas workshops.“, explains Ali Hajji.

The 19th edition, that of the reunion, marked the return after two consecutive years of forced stop, and saw the presence of more than 150,000 spectators who attended the 124 screenings within the framework of the Festival: at the Palais des Congrès, at the Place Jemaâ El Fna, at the Colisée cinema and at the Yves Saint Laurent Museum, compared to 105,000 during the 18th edition of 2019, i.e. 45,000 more which is very gratifying, underlines Ali Hajji.

On the accreditation side, some 20,000 people obtained their electronic badge to attend the various sections of the Festival, i.e. almost double the accreditations recorded during the 2019 edition, specifies Ali Hajji, noting that nearly 5,000 children and adolescents also took part in the screenings reserved for young audiences, in particular at the Colisée cinema.

To do this, we imagined this electronic badge which facilitates access for festival-goers since we launched this e-badge a few weeks ago, with the possibility for the public, professionals, the press, etc., to register online and be able to obtain free accreditation and thus participate in all the screenings and activities of the festival“, he explains.

For the highlights of this 19th edition, the General Coordinator of the Festival did not fail to return to the series of meetings and inspiring and convivial debates during the section ” In Conversation With“, organized within the framework of the FIFM and which allowed the public, in particular the students of the Superior School of Visual Arts (ESAV) of Marrakech, who came in large numbers, to discuss with renowned directors, like Leos Carax (France), Jim Jarmusch (USA), Asghar Farhadi (Iran), Gabriel Yared (France-Lebanon), Jeremy Irons (Great Britain), Julie Delpy (France), Marina Fois (France) or even Julia Ducournau (France) .

In reality, the decision to organize the FIFM 2022 came at the start of the year, perhaps in February, when we knew that the festival could take place, we did not yet know in what form, because we was at a time when the pandemic still strongly existed, but there was hope that the festival could return to its usual format. This year we worked very hard to be able to offer the festival in its current format, and we are very happy to have done it because it is really one of the most successful editions in terms of public“, he rejoices.

On the programming side, the general coordinator of the Festival explains to us that the choice is not the same. ” Each section has its specifications. What makes the Marrakech festival unique is that we have a competitiveness section, which is dedicated to discovering new talents in world cinema. In other words, we only screen first and second feature films by directors and filmmakers. So we are really focused on young world cinema, because we have 14 films from 14 different nationalities“, he clarified.

What also makes the singularity of the Marrakech festival, continues Hajji, “ it is this meeting between young talents, those who we hope will be the great filmmakers of tomorrow, and the biggest names in world cinema, who come to discover the films either by being a member of the jury, as this year we have this jury which is very prestigious and which is chaired by Paolo Sorrentino, or those who come to receive a tribute or participate in a conversation and present the films sometimes“.

With regard to the other sections, Ali Hajji first mentions ” the gala sessions section. Here we are rather on films by great directors, the most unexpected international films of the year with prestigious castings. We have special screenings, where we show films by directors recognized either by critics or by international festivals, this is the case, for example, of the great Iranian director Jafar Panahi, whose latest film we are showing this year at the festival which calls “No Bears”. We also have this section of the 11th continent which shows more adventurous, more specialized films, which are rather avant-garde films, research, archives, fiction, documentaries, heritage films too, because we show African and Arab films that were at the forefront of cinema in the region a few decades ago “.

There is also the Moroccan panorama, continues our interlocutor, “ which aims to show the best of Moroccan auteur cinema, fiction and documentary. Recent production. And that’s where we presented this year as a world premiere, at the opening of the festival, Faouzi Bensaidi’s film “Summer Day”, which did very well with festival-goers, and which was a great success, and received a very good reception from critics and the public “.

What makes the richness of the Marrakech festival is all these spaces for meetings, debate and exchanges that we have been able to install over the years and which allow the public to exchange directly with the talents, and this These are very enriching exchanges, whether you are a young film school student discussing with a director whose film he liked, or a film buff from Marrakech and elsewhere who wants to learn more about production of the film he has just seen and enjoyed, and so on »supports Ali Hajji.

To conclude: “It is all these debates, these discussions and these exchanges that make the strength of the Marrakech festival. It is his ability to create these encounters and these opportunities to discuss and share“.

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