Monday, October 13, 2014

Waiting for Sarem Fassi Fihri......


By Allal El Alaoui

                            Only 31 cinema theatres still resist in Morocco. It is an embarrassing fact for the new comer, the director of CCM. Filmmakers and critics are wondering about this disastrous decrease in number of cinema theatres and the big question remains as this: why do we still produce Moroccan films? It might be the second critical criteria that also faces the new director/producer of CCM called Sarem Fassi Fihri.
                         The New director, known of his cool western hat and his expensive Cuban cigarettes, is welcomed by media ,directors and producers to promote and give a new breath to national cinema not ignoring the magnificent job of his previous colleague, Nouredine Sail who has himself made great efforts to reopen Moroccan cinema theatres, unfortunately his dreams do not come true  .Unlike Nouredine, Sarem  is very actif in the field of production and has produced  movies of  handful of Moroccan filmmakers such as Hakim Noury,Ahmed Boulane and Nabil Ayouch . Administratively speaking,CCM needs to be reorganized by inserting new technical staff,new technoclogy and above all new vision of the future of Moroccan cinema.This is a job that Sarem is planning to realize .But,when ?
                         In his Cinematic column inserted mysteriously into the International Film Festival of Mediterranean countries 2014 edition, Sarem Fassi Fihri has written in English which is something new for Moroccan cinema-goers .May be it is a sign to suggest  that Moroccan cinema should be known to THE WORLD  unlike  x – CCM director Nouredine Sail who only sticks to Pascal country ,France .Of course, Arabic is much more used  from Moroccan cinema-goers ; critics and screenwriters because it is the first spoken language.

                          Only 56 short films in competition coming from Mediterranean countries. However, Panorama films do not exist anymore in the festival due to the non virement of financial support to the Festival which eventually needs more than 150.000.000 dirham to cover the cost and charges of invited people .The sum of money that we have mentioned before; cannot be released from Moroccan official  sponsors, or Tangiers local supporters .I let you guess the dramatic suspense that is happening between Rabat and Tangiers.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Lilly by Brett Chapman

I know rejection is a fatal enemy for creators ,filmmakers and cinema-goers.I know from rejection some filmmakers become famous and rich such as Oliver Stone when he first presented his first screenplay, he was rejected by Hollywood agents  .Yet, some solid people prefer to stick and get along until the final call .

Today, i have read this article about a shortfilm called Lilly by Brett Chapman.
I find it interesting to republish in my weblog for my Moroccan and world cinema-goers just to know one thing is that we must not let it down ,but instead go ahead with your ideas and who knows what you would become later on.....

Being Rejected From Film Festivals
When you make a film it can be a deeply personal and important event for you. When I made my short film ‘Lilly’ I put a whole stack of myself into it and I found the process of making it to be one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done.

I am very happy with ‘Lilly’ – I feel like we basically made the film that I wanted to and it’s one of the few things I’ve produced that I feel almost comfortable showing to other people. It’s still an anxiety inducing event to watch it in a room full of people though.
I’ve still got a long way to go to get to the level that I’d like to be at.

Anyone who has ever screened a film for an audience will know the feeling well. You sit there, wriggling around in your chair like a mid-interview Tom Waits, anticipating a reaction from the audience. Where do the laughs come? Does anyone gasp? Does anyone cry? Do they sound bored? I’m not even sure what the sound of boredom is…

So, if you can get over the initial fear of actually allowing people to watch your movie soon comes the time to send it out into the world. For a filmmaker at my level I really had two options open to me: I could put the film online, promote it and hope to find an audience or I could send it to film festivals and hope it gets accepted and develops a buzz from there.
There are, obviously, pros and cons to each approach that I’m not going to explore in an in-depth way because, frankly, there are people far more qualified than I to do that. What I will do, however, is briefly touch on some of the elements that were most pertinent in my decision and what’s happened since.

Despite Lilly being a short film the final cut came in at 28 minutes. That’s not an ideal starting point for either online or festival promotion. Many film festivals prefer their short films to be at the very least under 25 minutes if not shorter, and everyone knows that you’ll struggle to hold or even draw in an online viewer for something over three minutes.

I could have made cuts to the film to get it down to a more manageable length, and in retrospect perhaps I should have, but this was my first film and I didn’t want to lose any of the moments or space in the film because I’d landed squarely on my original vision for the piece.
Utlimtately I decided that I wanted to send Lilly to film festivals and see whether or nt we got a positive reaction. I suspect there was something in me that liked the idea of my film being shown on the same screen as some other more credible films.

Because I also work a full time job I didn’t have the free time to research the multitude of festivals that are out there and then go through the long process of submitting. To overcome that problem I decided to hire in an external company to handle the process.

I ultimately went with Festival Formula, a company run by the lovely and knowledgeable Katie McCullough. She produced for me a list of festivals that might appreciate what Lilly was trying to say and handled the whole submission process for me. I can’t recommend this company or Katie enough.

Any shortcomings that Lilly had in gaining entry into festivals are totally down to the film and my own decisions. The Advice Katie offered throughout was impeccable and perhaps something I should have taken on board in a bigger way - especially regarding the length of the film! 
This was always going to be a costly experience and after submitting to about 25 festivals I’d totally exhausted my finances, so, I sat back and waited for the responses to come rolling in. Then I waited some more – and some more. Then it happened! The first response.

“Thank you for sending us the above film for consideration for the [Insert Festival Name] Film Festival. While we very much appreciated the opportunity to consider the film, unfortunately it has not made the final line up for this year’s festival.”

I very quickly became accustomed to this sort of response. Whilst I thought I had prepared myself for the inevitable rejections I don’t think I realised just how disheartening it would be to see your film rejected from all the festivals you were so desperate to get into.

Like I said, this film was a bit part of me and it can be hard to separate the rejection of your work from being a rejection of yourself personally. But then, in rode the East End Film Festivalto save the day!

The first festival acceptance for Lilly took me to London to watch Lilly being screened as part of The East End Film Festival’s ‘Britain on Film’ programme. It was wonderful to see my film screened alongside some really wonderful shorts and the short Q&A post screening was a fun, if nerve wracking, experience. I will forever adore The East End Film Festival for accepting my film. 
I had hoped that the EEFF screening might have been the start of a few screenings for Lilly but unfortunately that’s not the way it went. A combo of rejections came a few weeks later and its been much the same ever since.

I’ve seen other films that I worked on finding their way into some pretty prestigious festivals and that is heartening and I’m pleased for the filmmakers involved but it does kind of  cement in place the disappointment that my own work hasn’t found an audience.

I think it’s important to remind yourself that this is something most people who pursue creative endeavours have to go through. Not everyone is going to ‘get’ what you’re trying to say and, furthermore, there’s no guarantee that what you create will every time be ‘good’. It’s a long process.
So, rather than get down on the fact that Lilly hasn’t found its place on the festival scene I’ve been trying to come up with the next move for the film and that took me back to my original two choices: online or festivals.

I’m not too proud to see that, for whatever reason, Lilly isn’t doing it on the festival circuit so to plow more money that I don’t have into more submissions that likely won’t be accepted doesn’t make sense to me. More and more I’ve been thinking about making the film available to view online.

More than getting good reviews or seeing my film on a big screen I think the thing that is most important to me is that its viewed by people who understand what it’s trying to say and appreciate the themes that I’ve tried to flavour it with.

The most encouraging thing that’s happened during Lilly’s short time out in the world is the response I’ve had from the audiences who have watched it. Quite a few people who watched the film took the time to tell me that the titular character really reminded them of strong women in their lives and thanked me for making the film. That felt amazing.
One person saying something like that to me was enough justification for making the film in the first place. Some people even cried. I had joked when making the film that all I wanted was to make someone cry with it. I guess that sounds sort of crass but all of the films I most admire make me cry.

Here I am, then, weighing up when and how exactly I put my film online. I could upload it to Vimeo or YouTube and try to promote it via social media and short film websites or I could look into VOD options. To be honest, I don’t think Lilly has the audience interest to do well on VOD. So, at the moment, I’m planning to put the film online, for free.

It’s OK to be rejected. It is not the end of the world and I don’t think it’s the end of the journey for your film, if you believe in it.

All I really want is for people to have the option to see the film if they choose to. I say it all the time but I don’t think a film exists until it has an audience. With that in mind, watch this space for updates about where Lilly will be available to view and if you’d like to help promote the flick, that’d be lovely.

Saturday, September 06, 2014

The Threshold by َََََََََََََََََََََََََََََََََََََََََََََََََََََََََََََََََََََAllal El Alaoui

Rachid Ghalmi and Nouria Benbrahim

By Ali Karama

Writing about Moroccan history is not easy .Yet, this fact is tackled by both Khalid Akalai, novelist and Allal El Alaoui,filmmaker,together they have written a script based on a literary work by Khalid himself  named The Threshold .First ;the location was Tetuan but because of luck of support of this northen city, the shortfilm is shot in Kenitra.
Immediately after being introduced to the cinematic commission in 2013 spearhead by Abdelkrim Berrechid , the commission says yes to fund the shortfilm and Allal El Alaoui will assure its film direction.
The step is about an arabo-andalousian facet changing from beauty to ugliness presented by a Moroccan family that goes through hardships and political turmoil just to find its indentity.All important historical events starting from 1940 up to 21 century ; are performed by professional actors just like Nouria Benbrahim, Rachid Rhalmi,Larbi Sassi,Othman Alaoui ,Abdessamad El Ghorfi ; Sanae El Alaoui and not forgetting the marvelous collaboration of  Kenitra local community chaired by Rachid Belmaquissia.We have to mention also the cast coming  from civil society that has accepted to give a hand to Siham Alaoui ,the manager of Cinema And Movies Company.

Technically speaking, the vision of the director is translated successfully by Zakaria Ain,director of photography and Soulyman Ouali , cameraman,M’Hamed Belmiloudi ,lighter,Larbi Benshili ,make up,Ouafae Salim ;script-girl  and Zhor Idrissi as a costumist.

Sunday, August 03, 2014

A letter to US people

By Allal El Alaoui

A letter to US people

You are probably the most intelligent people in the world .Yet ;How come do you give your tax money to military power in Israel ? the world now has spoken out and support the right side which is to stop this bleeding war against civilians as your street has done the same thing about the crimes of Israel towards Palestinian civilians .Now , come on speak out and say the truth as you fought in your 1779 revolutionary war.The jews and Arabs have lived together for years and I believe they shoud do in one state .

It is true that Israel has founded a democracy in the middle east but this same democracy is based on criminality.Now, you American people speak out in your street to stop your Barak Obama gouvernement endless support to Israel based on your pocket money .

Friday, July 25, 2014

10 Great Akira Kurosawa Quotes for Screenwriters & Filmmakers

Probably most famous for the epic, THE SEVEN SAMURAIAkira Kurosawa has always been more popular in the West than in his native Japan. His big breakthrough came withRASHOMON, the film that introduced Western filmmakers to Japanese cinema and spawned an army of imitators and countless remakes. Following a lean spell in the 1970s he returned to filmmaking, reaching his peak with the multiple award winning RAN in 1985, an epic adaptation of Shakespeare’s King Lear.

1. “In order to write scripts, you must first study the great novels and dramas of the world. You must consider why they are great. Where does the emotion come from that you feel as you read them? What degree of passion did the author have to have, what level of meticulousness did he have to command, in order to portray the characters and events as he did? You must read thoroughly, to the point where you can grasp all these things. You must also see the great films. You must read the great screenplays and study the film theories of the great directors. If your goal is to become a film director, you must master screenwriting.”

A talentless bunch: Kurosawa, Coppola and Lucas

2. “With a good script, a good director can produce a masterpiece. With the same script, a mediocre director can produce a passable film. But with a bad script even a good director can’t possibly make a good film. For truly cinematic expression, the camera and the microphone must be able to cross both fire and water. The script must be something that has the power to do this.”

3. “Human beings share the same common problems. A film can only be understood if it depicts these properly.”

4. “I‘ve forgotten who it was that said creation is memory. My own experiences and the various things I have read remain in my memory and become the basis upon which I create something new. I couldn’t do it out of nothing. For this reason, since the time I was a young man I have always kept a notebook handy when I read a book. I write down my reactions and what particularly moves me. I have stacks and stacks of these college notebooks, and when I go off to write a script, these are what I read. Somewhere they always provide me with a point of breakthrough. Even for single lines of dialogue I have taken hints from these notebooks. So what I want to say is, don’t read books while lying down in bed.”

5. “Something that you should take particular notice of is the fact that the best scripts have very few explanatory passages. Adding explanation to the descriptive passages of a screenplay is the most dangerous trap you can fall into. It’s easy to explain the psychological state of a character at a particular moment, but it’s very difficult to describe it through the delicate nuances of action and dialogue. Yet it is not impossible. A great deal about this can be learned from the study of the great plays, and I believe the ‘hard-boiled’ detective novels can also be very instructive.”

6. “Human beings are unable to be honest with themselves about themselves. They cannot talk about themselves without embellishing.”

7. “The role of a director encompasses the coaching of the actors, the cinematography, the sound recording, the art direction, the music, the editing and the dubbing and sound-mixing. Although these can be thought of as separate occupations, I do not regard them as independent. I see them all melting together under the heading of direction.”

Akira Kurosawa

8. “When I start on a film I always have a number of ideas about my project. Then one of them begins to germinate, to sprout, and it is this, which I take and work with. My films come from my need to say a particular thing at a particular time. The beginning of any film for me is this need to express something. It is to make it nurture and grow that I write my script- it is directing it that makes my tree blossom and bear fruit.”

9. “A film director has to convince a great number of people to follow him and work with him. I often say, although I am certainly not a militarist, that if you compare the production unit to an army, the script is the battle flag and the director is the commander of the front line. From the moment production begins to the moment it ends, there is no telling what will happen. The director must be able to respond to any situation, and he must have the leadership ability to make the whole unit go along with his responses.”

10. “Movie directors, or should I say people who create things, are very greedy and they can never be satisfied… That’s why they can keep on working. I’ve been able to work for so long because I think next time, I’ll make something good.”

Akira Kurosawa, 1910 – 1998