Morocco/ 8.2 Cultural consumption and participation  

8.2.2 Policies and programmes

In recent years there has been powerful Islamic opposition to Moroccan festivals, claiming that festivals fostered an atmosphere of drug use, even those directly sponsored by the state. Festival oversight is indeed characterised by improvisation and naiveté. There is no mechanism in place for monitoring allocated budgets. Tétouan was one of the most egregious examples of misspending.

NGOs and civil and political authorities have openly decried the waste of money and lack of financial transparency at festivals. The National Committee for the Protection of Public Funds has affirmed authorities’ demands for more prudent festival spending.

Does this volume of film festivals nurture the national film industry? The committee is required to complete an objective assessment of funding geared to promote the national film industry, with the intention of preventing Moroccan artists from soaking up funding without producing quality work. This type of assessment is especially valuable for events like the Morocco International Film Festival, which draws tremendous crowds and costs an undisclosed amount each year. The sheer frequency of festivals makes it seem likely that filmmakers are receiving more festival invitations than job offers. 

Given the volume of festivals held by the Moroccan government, it is ironic that the country’s last functioning cinema shut its doors in 2008 due to poor audience. With all the attention on filmmaking, it is surprising that the country has yet to establish an international calibre institute or school for training professionals in the cinema techniques Morocco’s film industry currently lacks.

Chapter published: 05-05-2016