The 5th annual Marrakech International Film Festival willkick off on November 11 with Stephen Frears MrsHenderson Presents opening the festivities.

Organised by Le Public Systeme who also handlethe Deauville Festival of American film, the CognacThriller Festival and the Gerardmer Horror Festivalamong others, the Marrakech event has gained in notoriety in the past few yearsand stretched to add two days and double the number of films.

Special events include tributes to Martin Scorsese and actor Amidou, along with the complete works of Abbas Kiarostami and a panoramaof Spanish cinema.

Sixteen films will compete under the watchful eye of Jean-Jacques Annaud who will head the jury. Also on the jury areMoroccan writer Abdelkebir Khatibi,Indian director Deepa Mehta, director Idrissa Ouedraogo from Burkina Faso, Tunisian actressHend Sabri, Italian actressStepania Rocca, Portugueseactress Leonor Silveira andAmerican hyphenate Mary Sweeney.

The competition films are a veritable smorgasbord with works from Finland,Spain, France, the UK, Morocco, the US, China, Denmark, the Czech Republic,Syria, Canada, Belgium, Germany and Kyrgyzstan (see list below).

A section titled Special Favorite Films willshowcase "audacious" independent works including Anders Thomas Jensen's Adam'sApples, first feature - and first ever film from Mauritius - Benares from Barlem Pyamooto, Austrian Jorg Kalt's debut Crash Test Dummies and a first filmfrom Estonia, Revolution Of Pigs by Jaak Kilmi and Rene Reinumagi.

Out of competition films include Chinese hit A World Without Thieves by Xiaogang Feng, Gabby Delal's OnA Clear Day, Tsui Hark'sSeven Swords and Shooting Dogs by Michael Caton-Jones.

The Spanish cinema panorama will include 41 films from the past fiftyyears beginning with 1951's Surcos by JoseAntonio Nieves Conde and up to 2004's Oscar nominatedThe Sea Inside.

The Scorsese tribute will include 16 films from the director's oeuvrebeginning with 1967's short film The Big Shave and ending with thisyear's Bob Dylan documentary No Direction Home. The director has alsochosen 6 films which were shot in Morocco to be screened.They include Pier Paolo Pasolini's Oedipus Rexand Ahmed El Maanouni's Trances. Indiandirector Yash Chopra will also be honoured.

Among the luminaries expected are Monica Bellucci,Catherine Deneuve, Victoria Abril,Maggie Cheung, Daniel Day Lewis, Dame Judi Dench,Dante Ferretti, Giancarlo Giannini,Ousmane Sembene andMichelle Yeoh.

Competition Films
by Juan Vicente Cordoba (Spain)
by Jose Alcala(France)
Bab El Makam
by Mohamed Malas (Syria)
by Jean-Marc Vallee (Canada)
El Ayel
by Moumen Smihi (Morocco)
by Juliet McKoen (UK)
by Lu Chuan (China)
by Henrik Ruben Genz (Denmarkà
by Dominique Abel, Fiona Gordon and Bruno Romy(Belgium)
Lu Cao Di
by Ning Hao (China)
Man Push Cart
by Ramin Bahrani (USA)
Paha Maa
by Aku Louhimies (Finland)
by Ernest Abdyshaparov (Kyrgyzstan)
Schatten Der Zeit
by Florian Gallenberger(Germany)
Slunecni Stat
By Martin Sulik (Czech Republic)
The Ballad Of Jack And Rose
By Rebecca Miller (USA)