Marrakesh International Film Festival, an opportunity of dialogue, cultural exchange
Morocco-Regional, Culture, 8/31/2002
The International Film Festival of Marrakesh is an opportunity for the encounter of different, sometimes even opposing philosophies, and promotes cultural exchange and dialogue, said in Casablanca on Thursday adviser to King Mohammed VI and vice-chairman of the Foundation of the International Film Festival of Marrakesh, Andr? Azoulay.
Speaking at a news conference in the presence of the chairwoman of this year's jury, French actress Jeanne Moreau, chairman of the festival, Daniel Toscan Du Plantier, and member of the jury and of the foundation managing board, Nabil Ayouch, Azoulay said the initiation of this event, to take place September 18-22, stems from the royal resolve to promote cinema art and industry in Morocco.
Azoulay recalled that Morocco intercrossed with cinema in its universal dimension a long time ago saying it was high time to optimize this reality and make of it a strong lever to Morocco's cinema industry.
Touching on the economic aspects of the cinema industry and its contribution in terms of economic and social value added, Azoulay said the cinema industry employed 40,000 extras, 2,600 technicians and 400 comedians in 2001, a year that is not the most performing.
Since last January, 584 film shooting licenses were issued by the Moroccan Cinema Center (CCM). Eleven feature films were already shot or are being shot, Azoulay said, recalling that the largest cinema studios in Africa will be shortly constructed in Ouarzazate over 200 hectares. Veteran Hollywood producer Dino De laurentis is among the promoters of the project, he said.
He also announced the shooting in 2003 of two super-productions, "Alexander the Great" in Marrakesh with a budget of some $150 million, and "the Last Legion," with some $60 million dollars, out of which $15 million will be invested in Morocco.
Chairwoman of the festival jury, Jeanne Moreau, said the event is unparalleled for it enables, through meetings and movies, the encounter of two worlds that have thus the opportunity to know each other.
Echoing her, Daniel Toscan Du Plantier also spoke of the special character of the Marrakesh festival which is held in a country of the south. It is the sole event of such a scale that fills the vacuum after the Cannes festival. Underlining its geopolitical dimension, he said the Marrakesh festival is also an opening on world cinema in a continent where the cinema art, as an industry, no longer exists.
The presence of filmmakers of the stature of David Lynch, Francis Ford Coppola and Martin Scorcese will surely impact on the festival radiance, he said.
The festival will pay tribute to David Lynch (Blue Velvet, Elephant Man, darkened Room) at a ceremony to be attended by French cinema icon Catherine Deneuve. Francis Ford Coppola, Moroccan actor Mohamed Hassan El Joundi and the Indian movie Laagan, in the person of Amir Khan, producer and actor of film willalso be honored.
The festival will feature outdoor screenings and colloquia on the themes "Power and responsibilities of cinema" and "national cinema, between creation and industry."
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