Nabil Ayouch was born April 1st 1969 in Paris. He works in Casablanca and Paris. In 1997, Nabil Ayouch directed his first feature film, Mektoub which, like Ali Zaoua (2000) represented Morocco at the Oscars. Next came Une Minute de Soleil en Moins (2003) and Whatever Lola Wants (2008), produced by Pathé. His first short film, in 1992, The Blue Rocks of the Desert marked the discovery of Jamel Debouzze.
In 2009, he created and directed the closing show of the World Economic Forum of Davos, after having directed several live shows such as the opening of Temps du Maroc in France at the Palace of Versailles in 1999.
In 1999, Nabil Ayouch founded Ali n Productions, a company through which he helps young directors to launch their careers thanks to initiatives such as the Mohamed Reggab Award, a script and production competition for short films in 35 mm. Between 2005 and 2010, he produced 40 genre films in the framework of the Film Industry. In 2006, he launched the Meda Films Development programme with the support of the European Union and the International Film Festival Foundation of Marrakech, a structure to accompany producers and scriptwriters from the ten countries on the southern shore of the Mediterranean in the development phase of their films.
Nabil Ayouch founded the G.A.R.P. (Group of Authors, Directors, Producers) in 2002 and the Moroccan Coalition for Cultural Diversity in 2003. In 2008, he participated in the creation of the Moroccan Anti-piracy Association, of which he is president.
In 2011, he released his first documentary feature film, My Land, which was filmed in the Middle East.
In 2012, Nabil Ayouch finished Gods Horses, inspired by the Casablanca suicide bombings of May 16th 2003.
2012: Gods Horses. Fiction feature film. 110 min. Production: Les Films du Nouveau Monde (France), Ali n Productions (Morocco), YC Aligator Film (Belgium), Artemis Productions (Belgium). Distribution: Stone Angels.
2010/ 2011: My Land. Documentary feature film. 81 min. Production: Les Films du Nouveau Monde (France), Yade French Connection (France) and Ali n Productions (Morocco). Distribution: Les Films de lAtalante.
Best Music and Best Editing Awards at the Tangiers Festival in 2011.
Best Documentary Award at the Tetouan Mediterranean Festival in 2012
Audiences Choice Award at the Cinéalma Festival (Nice)
Press Award at the Fameck Festival
Selections in many festivals in France, USA, Palestine, Morocco, etc.
2007/2008: Whatever Lola Wants. Fiction feature film. 115 min. Production: Pathé Productions. Distribution: Pathé Distribution. – Sold in 33 countries.
Best Film Award at the National Moroccan Festival (2008)
Selections in Tribeca, Dubaï, Marrakech, New Delhi, FESPACO, etc.
2003: Une Minute de Soleil en Moins. Feature film for the Masculin/feminine collection, for the TV channel Arte.
Technical Achievement Award at the Montpellier Mediterranean Festival.
2008: Ali Zaoua. Fiction feature film. 100 min. Production: Playtime (France), Ali n Productions (Morocco). Distribution: Océans Films.
Official Moroccan selection at the Oscars in 2001. Sold in 28 countries.
Appears in 1001 Films You Must See Before You Die», selected and written by leading international critics. General editor: Steven Jay Schneider.
44 awards won in various international festivals: Montreal (Canada), Namur, Brussels (Belgium), Khouribga, Marrakech (Morocco), Stockholm (Sweden), Amiens (France), Manheim (Germany), Ouagadougou (Burkina-Faso), Kerala (India), Milan (Italy), Zlin (Czech Republic), Cologne (Germany), etc.
1997/98: Mektoub. First fiction feature film. 90 min.
Official Moroccan selection at the Oscars in 1998.
Best Arab Film Award and Best First Film Award at the Cairo International Film Festival.
Special Jury Award in Oslo.
Selected in 30-odd international film festivals (Berlin, Rotterdam, Gant, etc.)
1994: The Silent Seller. 26 min.
Best Production Award at the Tangier National Film Festival National.
Selections in numerous international festivals.
1993: Frequency Connection. 4 min.
Montreal World Film Festival. Broadcast on Arte and ZDF.
1992: The Blue Rocks of the Desert. 21 min.
Presented at 20-odd festivals around the world.
Canal + Award at the Bastia Mediterranean Film Festival Bastia (France).
Broadcast on Canal +, RTM, Canal Horizon, 2M, France 2 and Paris Première.
Yachine is 10 years old, he lives with his family in the slum of Sidi Moumen in Casablanca. His mother, Yemma, leads the family as best as she can. His father suffers from depression, one of his brothers is in the army, another is almost autistic and the third, Hamid, 13, is the boss of the local neighbourhood and Yachine’s protector.
When Hamid is sent to jail, Yachine takes up jobs after jobs, though empty, to get free from the doldrums of violence, misery and drugs.
Released from prison, Hamid, now an Islamic fundamentalist, persuades Yachine and his pals to join their “brothers”. The Imam, Abou Zoubeir, their spiritual leader, starts to direct their long-standing physical and mental preparation.One day, he tells them they have been chosen to become martyrs.
The film is inspired by the terrorist attacks of May 16th 2003 in Casablanca.
Brief comment of the director on the film :
The terrorist attacks of May 16th 2003 were, for me like the rest of Morocco, a violent and incomprehensible shock. For, on that day, it was Moroccans, and not foreign fanatics, who blew themselves up among many innocent victims. It took me a long time to understand it and to accept it but, on May 16th 2003, the victims were on both sides.
This film takes us across the ring road that surrounds Casablanca and plunges us into the outskirts we are frightened of, to meet human beings and to discover their friendships, relationships, families and dreams: to try to understand how these dreams turned first to hate, and then to barbarity.