Morocco’s Marrakech International Film Festival has been cancelled for the second year running but its industry-focused Atlas Workshops will go on ahead online from November 22-25.
The meeting, which is in its fourth year, focuses on projects in development or post-production from the Arab world and Africa. It has been supported by Netflix since its launch in 2018.
It has a growing track record in getting behind films that go on to make their mark on the international festival circuit.
This year’s Cannes Critics’ Week winner Feathers by Egyptian director Omar El Zohairy won its Baumi Development Award at the 2020 edition. Finnish-Somali filmmaker Khadar Ayderus Ahmed’s The Gravedigger’s Wife, which won the workshops’ main €20,000 post-production prize in 2019, also world premiered in Cannes Critics’ Week section this year.
Its 2021 dates will see the event unfold on the eve of the Cairo International Film Festival, which has brought forward its dates to November 26 to December 5, so as not to clash with Saudi Arabia’s new Red Sea International Film Festival in December.
Morocco ranks second in Africa, after South Africa, for coronavirus infections and related deaths having been hit hard in the early days of the pandemic. As of September 10, the country had recorded 896,913 infections and 13,370 Covid-19-related deaths.
It has since ratcheted up its response to the health crisis, however, with one of the biggest vaccination campaigns on the African continent. Roughly 49% of the population is now fully vaccinated with the authorities aiming for 75% coverage by October.
Middle East autumn festival and industry event calendar:
El Gouna Film Festival, Egypt October 14-22
Carthage Film Festival, Tunisia, October 30-November 6
Ajyal Film Festival, Qatar November 7-19
Marrakech International Film Festival, Morocco cancelled
Atlas Workshops, online November 22-25
Cairo International Film Festival, Egypt November 26-December 5
Red Sea International Film Festival, Saudi Arabia December 6-15