The 9th International Film Festival of Marrakech is being held these days in the Moroccan city, gathering some important names of the film industry. Personalities within the jury panel this year are Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami as president, Italian actress Isabella Ferrari, Argentinian director Pablo Trapero, French actress Fanny Ardant and British director Mike Figgis among others.
The festival has been an annual event since 2000, put in place thanks to the promotion of Prince Moulay Rachid and the patronage of HM King Mohammed VI. Over the years, the Festival has been gaining further visibility on the international landscape, thanks to the important cinema personalities invited but also to the impeccable organisation of the event.
The charm of Marrakech, a town that has always been a crossroad of different people, cultures and ethnicities, adds its own very particular element to the event. In fact, the fifteen films competing this year make quite a multicultural mix with very well known names as well as new films from directors Ahmad Abdallah (Egypt), Urszula Antoniak (Netherlands), Nosir Saidov (Tajikistan), Rigoberto Perezcano (Mexico) and Enrique Buchichio (Uruguay).
Some of the non competing films that have been shown in the event especially discovered the emerging Thai cinema, with new talents such as Aiptchapong Weerasetakul and Songyos, Sugmakan, as well as Korean cinema. Other special moments of the Festival in program are tributes to be paid to actor Christopher Walken, Sir Ben Kingsley (famous for playing in Schindler’s List), directors Emir Kusturica and Said Taghmaoui.
Finally, a nice initiative was also that of a series of screenings for the visually impaired and a photography exhibition of shots taken by visually impaired people. There is also a charity purpose to this in order to provide cataract operations to patients in the region of Marrakech-Tensift Al Haouz.