Morocco festival supports student cinema
The fifth round of the International Student Film Festival was organised in Casablanca to help Moroccan students benefit from the experiences of their counterparts from around the world.
By Naoufel Cherkaoui for Magharebia in Rabat – 18/05/12
[File] The 5th International Student Film Festival just concluded in Casablanca.
The 5th International Student Film Festival (FIFE) wrapped up on May 12th in Casablanca with the distribution of awards to winning students in the four festival contests.
The four-day event aimed at supporting young cinema talent and creating an atmosphere of competition between Moroccan students and their counterparts from European, American and Arab countries in order to help gain experience and knowledge.
In addition to the official contests in feature and experimental film, the documentary and video clip contest as well as the animated film competition, the festival included several workshops on cinema-related professions.
“The strength of the festival lies in its presentation of new creative work in each round,” said festival president Ouafae Bourkadi. “Films taking part in the festival are graduation projects for students of cinema school institutes, and therefore, there are new films every year and thus in every new round.”
“Young people are showing more interest in cinema,” she added. “Moroccan cinema students are now more interested in their culture, which is considered a reference for their work.”
In his turn, festival director Abdellah Cheikh said that the “event presents creative works of art for an elite of young people who have a new and modern vision of the cinematic art, which is based on two main principles: creativity and citizenship.”
“The festival allows lovers of the seventh art of different ages and creative trends to see the audio-visual production world of future filmmakers,” he added. “It’s a space for exchange and dialogue par excellence. The production of a new a good film doesn’t always depend on big funds and huge production industry; something that is reflected by the films taking part in the festival.”
Cheikh said more than 500 films were sent to the movie selection committee, with 44 chosen for each of the feature film and documentary categories. A further 17 animated films were displayed.
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“It’s an important festival because there are a lot of participants,” said Moez Gharbi, a professor at the Cinema Institute in Tunisia. “We’ve seen strong competition between participating films. However, not all films can win awards, and the most important thing is participation as the first step to win awards and take part in international festivals.”
“Maghreb young people now pay attention to the issue of quality in their cinematic works,” he told Magharebia. “The level of the Maghreb is still far from the American and European levels in cinema, but we’ll get to that level one day.”
Meanwhile, Jawad Boudehbine, a Moroccan student at the cinema institute in New York who won the first award in the feature film contest, said that “the level of European films that are taking part in the festival was good, while the level of Moroccan films was modest as far as technique is concerned. I think that if the participating Moroccan students have had big technological support, the level of their work would have been good.”
“The strength of curricula in western countries lies in specialisation,” he added. “At the time you study directing, for example, there would be another colleague studying screenplay and another one studying photography. Co-operation between those students results in good films, but one man only doing several jobs at the same time would result in poor production.”