Filmmaker based in Paris, I currently work between Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East. Citizen of both sides of the Mediterranean, I try to represent people and territories in their complexity. I mostly film by myself creating an intimacy with those I’m following.
My first film “Casablanca. One way ticket to Paradise” tells the story of 14 Moroccan suicide bombers who killed dozens of innocent people in restaurants and bars downtown Casablanca after having been indoctrinated by a jihadi movement. The terrorists were in their early twenties and came from the same neighbourhood, one of the poorest slums in the suburb of the city. The film reveals their untold stories through the words of their families, friends, neighbours and schoolmates.
Between 2011 and 2013, I directed two feature documentaries observing the Arab revolutions through the eyes of young musicians in the slums of Cairo and across Tunisia. In Egypt, I discovered a new sound that combines pop, electronic music and unconfined lyrics, which breaks the taboos of the conservative patriarchal society. To describe that phenomenon, I shaped the word “Electro Chaabi” and made a film of it. In “Tunisia Clash”, I entered the underground Tunisian rap scene, fighting for freedom of speech and social justice. Observing the Arab revolutions through the eyes of young people in working-class neighborhoods, and more particularly through the music that gets them dancing and dreaming, this was my quest as a film director.
In my latest film, “Paris Stalingrad”, I’ve been meaning to show to the world a hidden side of Paris, while the French capital closes doors to asylum seekers, building fences to expel them from public spaces, creating new borders downtown.
Last spring, I started to shoot a new film in Sudan. I attended the revolutionary sit-in in Khartoum, a living dream carried by the rising generation. After the military militias attacked the area, burning the tents, erasing the paintings and the slogans on the walls, despite the violence and the number of people killed, Sudanese people continued their peaceful fight for freedom. The film follows ordinary citizens engaged on this long journey for change.
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