The Moroccan coastal city of Agadir has made an outstanding commitment to cinema and the plastic arts, united through the "Ciné Art Agadir" Festival, which successfully completed its third edition held from 20 to 22 November under the slogan "Art and convalescence", with screenings, master classes, professional workshops and online seminars of an international nature. The reference is a clear reference to the COVID pandemic that has forced a series of virtual activities.
The festival is an opportunity to get closer to other cultures through the works of Moroccan and foreign directors, with a good presence of Spanish authors. This event also aims to discover and encourage emerging creators and promote new cinematographic voices. Its director, the indefatigable artist and cultural promoter Najat Elbaz, is in charge of the event, with the clear objective of turning Agadir into an artistic pole of interest from Morocco to the whole world. With an outstanding presence of Moroccan artists and film professionals, it is worth noting the large presence of Spanish films in this edition, and the participation of directors, producers and professionals from the Arab world, but also from other countries, from Portugal to Mexico or the United States.
The festival programme includes an official competition for short films and documentaries from different continents. Up to 30 films are screened and compete for prizes. It is an international event, reflected both in the origin of the works and in the composition of the juries. The jury for the feature-length documentary competition was chaired by the Moroccan director and actor Driss Roukhe and is made up of Ammar al-Ibrahim, director of the Sultanate of Oman, the Spanish director Javier Martin-Domínguez, Carlos Coelho, director from Portugal, Mohamed Lyounsi, Moroccan director, and Mohamed Laroussi, scriptwriter from Morocco.
The winners in this section were the American production "Siqueiros", directed by Lorena Manríquez and Mikel Baker; the silver statuette went to the Spanish production "Sorolla, los viajes de la luz", directed by Sonia Tercero Ramiro, and the bronze was awarded to "El hombre que se convirtió en museo" by the Tunisian director Marwan Tripolsi.
As for the short films, the jury was chaired by Moroccan director Hakim Noury and comprised director Slim Belhiba from Tunisia, Hazem Metwally from Egypt, actress Zohra Noujoum from Morocco, French director Elodie Lachaud from France, and painter Michelle Hart from Panama. Their decision was to award the prizes to the production "Potato" (which won the prizes for best film, direction and photography), the film "Insomnie" (prizes for best actor and Moroccan director Rafiq Boubaker). Award to the actor Said Bay for his role in "En el mejor de los casos", plus a special mention to the Moroccan artist and director Ahmed Said al-Qadri for his film "El jurista al rakraki".
In addition to the screening of films, the festival is committed to various professional activities, with the organisation of up to eleven artistic training workshops in directing, acting, film production, directing, screenwriting, film make-up workshop, with the participation of directors and actors from various countries.
The scriptwriting workshop is led by Atta Constantin from Lebanon and Yassin Eddaoui from Egypt. The production workshop was led by Makyie Mabida (Senegal), Abbas El Aboudi (Iraq) and Julien Fouré (France). Moroccans Karim Boulmal and Majed Lekroun were in charge of the interpretation workshop. The workshop dedicated to interpretation and production was supervised by the Moroccan Abdellah Chicha. Ahmed Hamdy Egypt) led a production workshop and Ahmed Boudirbila the image and sound workshop. The film make-up workshop was led by Moroccan artist Jamal Chari. There was also an outstanding master class, supervised by the Moroccan actor Karim Boulmal, dedicated to the creative and cinematographic journey of the renowned Moroccan director Hassan Benjelloun. The Moroccan representation was large and of a high standard, showing the growing strength of the country's audiovisual sector.
Two international online conferences were offered via social networks: the one dedicated to "Cine en la historia del arte", led by Moroccan director Hakim Noury, with the participation of other world-renowned directors, actors, film critics and painters. Among others, Sylvia Perel and Miguel Peker (director and producer/USA), Lorena Manríquez (director/Mexico), Susana Cardiola (director/Spain), Jessica Gonzales (painter/Portugal), Marta Figueras (producer/Spain) and Carlos Coelho (director/Portugal).
The second conference on "Cultural Diplomacy" was moderated by the Moroccan writer Mohamed Laroussi. Participants included Mohamed El Badri from Egypt and Salim Ettayeb El Hassani from Oman, the Moroccan professor of International Relations, Abdelfettah Belâamchi, the Moroccan-Saudi artist Ahmed El Harbi, the Moroccan actor Abdelilah Ajil, the Tunisian director, Marouane Tarabelsi, the Moroccan actor Jamal Laâbabsi and the Moroccan actress Amal Temmar, the Egyptian director Hazem Metwalli, the Lebanese painter Ghassane Mahfoudh, the director Azzeddine El Ouafi and the Moroccan director and painter Ahmed Dijo El Kaderi.
Throughout the festival, tribute has been paid to the late Nour-Eddine Saïl, including the screening of a film chronicling his life and achievements with the participation of the Moroccan director, Lahcen Zainoun. Died last year, he was a writer, critic, teacher and film executive who played a crucial role in the promotion of Moroccan cinema. He was director of the Moroccan Film Centre, as well as general director of Channel 2, before moving to the French channel Canal Plus. Among the parallel activities, there was also an evening of poetry by the former Panamanian ambassador to Morocco, Gloria Young, whose works were translated by Professor Fatima El Housseini. Agadir, a tourist city par excellence, with great beaches and open spaces of interest for filming, closes a good edition of its festival with an eye on a new year that will allow all its activities to be in person.