Programmes 2022

Panels & discussions

Atlas Workshops opens up a space for reflection through a series of round tables and panel discussions in which professionals share their experience and explore contemporary issues related to cinema in the African continent and the Arab world.

Precise writing, breath-taking plots, landmark films.
A discussion with Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi about a fundamental stage in the creation of his films: scriptwriting

With Asghar Farhadi (director & screenwriter)

Moderator: Jihane Bougrine, Film critic, journalist, singer

How does one of the world’s greatest contemporary filmmakers, winner of several Academy Awards and prized at the Festival de Cannes, approach the development of his stories? How does he work out his plots, in which characters struggle in the midst of a complex web of entanglements and constraints both social and individual? How does he achieve such intensity, while maintaining a sombre tone in the action of his films? Illustrated by a few examples from his rich filmography, this panel explores Farhadi’s working method, which still impresses and influences filmmakers and cinephiles around the world.

Writing as the heart of the development process: an overview of the challenges of screenwriting

With Delphine Agut (screenwriter - France), Mohamed Ben Attia (screenwriter & director - Tunisia), Joëlle Touma (screenwriter - Lebanon, France)

Moderator: Farah Clémentine Dramani-Issifou
Selection committee member, Atlas Workshops and the Marrakech International Film Festival

Writing a feature film often takes a long time and the ease of the process can depend on the success of the film’s financing stages. If the idea of the director as author, and therefore the screenwriter of their own film, is emphasised in the making of auteur cinema, it is also common to rely on other screenwriters to infom the director’s writing at various stages of development. Several forms of intervention can then be outlined with the director and their producer, among them working with a co-writer from the start of the writing process or at a targeted stage; occasional or regular consultation; or one-time readings with feedback. Screenwriters play a key role in the eventual success of many films that appear on the international scene, but their acknowledgement is tenuous. Through a discussion with three screenwriters who work with filmmakers from the Arab world and the African continent, this panel attempts to identify key issues of this profession.

Independent film distribution in the arab world

With Meriame Deghedi (MAD Solution - Egypt), Omar El Kadi (MC Distribution - Lebanon), Mohamed Frini (Hakka Distribution - Tunisia), Jessica Khoury (Film Clinic Indie Distribution - Egypt)

Moderator: Hania Mroué
Selection committee member, Atlas Workshops and artistic advisor to the Marrakech International Film Festival

Issues surrounding the distribution of independent films in cinemas are of crucial importance throughout the world. These questions are all the more significant in the Arab world, where the network of independent cinemas exists—but is fragile. How do distributors in the Arab world work in the territories in which they distribute films? How do they select their films? What are the creative considerations that guide their catalogue choices? What are the challenges they face in their home countries and in the territories in which they distribute these films? What are the obstacles in play—and how can they be overcome to ensure that important works find diverse audiences? What are the current challenges and those of the future? Four key distributors from the Arab world speak about their profession and their practice, choosing examples of recently distributed films from their catalogues.

Co-production Market

Participating projects and films are presented in the framework of the Co-Production Market, at which filmmakers have the opportunity to meet one-on-one with international professionals in order to find co-producers, sales agents or other partners. In its fifth edition, the Co-Production Market brings together 250 international industry professionals.

This year, the Co-Production Market is back in person.

Atlas Station

Atlas Station is aimed at all professionals registered to the Atlas Workshops intending to strengthen their skills. It offers a range of interventions and personal consultations with international experts who come to share their experiences and knowledge in different fields, from scriptwriting to distribution. Two sections have been developed to provide the best support to participants: Consultations and Training Sessions.



Dense and concise, the sessions allow a more direct exchange between participants and experts. Open to all registered professionals wishing to strengthen their skills, these different modules of 45 minutes to one hour are led by international experts who come to share their experiences and knowledge on a variety of subjects, from writing to distribution. 


Working with non-professional actors - from casting to filming
Speaker: Erige Sehiri (director - Tunisia) 

Whether for budgetary reasons, a quest for realism or love at first sight, many filmmakers choose non-professional actors to embody their universe, as did Erige Sehiri for her latest film Under The Fig Trees. An opportunity to share this unique experience with her ‘amateur’ actors, from casting to shooting, throughout preparation and rehearsals.

Sound as a narrative element
Speaker: Rana Eid (director, sound editor - Lebanon)

Sound editing is an aesthetic as well as a narrative element within an audiovisual work; nourishing the narrative, enriching its atmosphere and the environment of its characters and must therefore be thought of at all stages of directing, from writing to editing. An opportunity to discover these issues through the work and career of Rana Eid, a film editor, director and teacher living in Beirut.

Portraits and background of producers from the Arab World and the African continent
Speakers: Karim Aitouna (Waq Waq Studio - Morocco), Myriam Sassine (Abbout Productions - Lebanon), Steven Markovitz (Big World Cinema - South-Africa) 

In recent decades, a new generation of producers has emerged and flourished on the African continent who has succeeded in imposing its films at the largest international festivals. A new generation dedicated to the discovery of new talent, experienced in international co-production and participating in the transformation of their domestic industry. An opportunity to discover their respective backgrounds, motivations and daily life as well as the issues that bind them.

The use of archives for documentary and fiction
Speakers: Ali Essafi (director - Morocco), Mohanad Yaqubi (director, producer - Palestine, Morocco), Jihan El-Tahri (director, screenwriter, producer - Egypt, Germany)

For many Arabs and Africans, the remains of images, oral histories and sounds of the past are desperately needed to reconnect with their own history, heritage and traditions. Although the ‘preservation and restoration’ of archives is currently the focus of institutional funders, the essential questions remain unanswered: How to access and query local and international collections in order to reclaim our past? How can we question the representation that has been given to us?



Consultations of 45 minutes to 1 hour organized with an expert to discuss and diagnose the obstacles that sometimes hinder the progress of documentary or fiction projects.

DOX BOX supports the emergence of a prosperous documentary community throughout the year, culture and practice in and from the Arab world while promoting the values and principles of justice, dignity and human rights. This year again, we are pleased to partner with the DOX BOX program, Powered by DOX Garage, which offers this accompaniment to 6 documentaries during this edition of the Atlas Workshops.

Entre nous deux Marseille
Dima Al-Joundi (France)
Let’s Play Soldiers
Mariam Al-Dhubhani (Qatar, USA, Yemen)
The Camera Never Cries
Elsadig Abdelgayoum (Sudan)
Jump the wall
Mohamed Zineddaine (Morocco)
Salimi Untold Stories
Nidal Badarny (Palestine)
Un Grain De Sable
Cheikh N’diaye (Morocco)
Sessions are organized for the following fiction projects by the Atlas Workshops team with Jennifer Sabbah-Immagine (Scale & Scope) and Juliette Lepoutre (Still Moving) as consultant for the following fiction projects: 

Yoro M’baye (Senegal)
Those Going to Paradise
Nabil Merrouch (Morocco)
Theft Of Fire
Amer Shomali (Palestine)
False Drama
Hicham Lasri (Morocco)
Lost In The Rif
Mohamed El Aboudi (Morocco)

Guest Programmes

The Atlas Workshops opens up space for reflection through a series of round tables and panel discussions where professionals share their experience and explore contemporary issues related to cinema in the African continent and the Arab world.

FOCUS | Creative Producer Indaba

Creative Producer Indaba is presented by Realness Institute, with the aim to bring together a hive-mind of producers in order to develop their entrepreneurial and leadership expertise, foster their creative skills, and create long-lasting and significant networks. This year, Atlas Workshops welcomes the 15 producers selected and hosts their first workshop in-person from November 14 to 17.

The diverse producers hail from around the globe and have been selected to participate in the second Creative Producer Indaba (CPI) which takes place from 7 November this year online for a week, at the Atlas Workshops (Marrakech International Film Festival) from 14 - 17 November and at International Film Festival Rotterdam (25 January – 2 February 2023) in person.

Selected participants include African producers Marion Isaacs (South Africa), Matheus Mello (Brazil/Mozambique), Bramwel Iro (Kenya), Sawsan Yusuf (Egypt) and Zoe Ramushu (Zimbabwe/South Africa) who have active film projects in development and are looking for international producers and co-financiers. Their film projects include a heist suspense series, two feature documentary dramas, and two feature dramas. Film professionals from Africa - Caroline Kganyago-Ralefeta, Lucia Meyer-Marais and Tracey-Lee Rainers (South Africa), Mia Bittar (Sudan) and Pedro Soulé (Cabo Verde) who have significant stakes in the African film marketplace, with an interest in the development of film projects and co-producing with Africa were selected.

Finally, Bartholomeu Luiz (Brazil), Ellen Havenith (Netherlands), Sheila Kassim (Tanzania, Norway), Kesmat El Sayed (Egypt/Germany) and Temilola Adebayo (Nigeria /Canada) are all international producers looking to finance projects in Africa, with a view to collaborating on African projects. Luiz is attending through the partnership with Brazilian foundation, Projeto Paradiso.

The programme designed by Elias Ribeiro is packed with workshops, discussions, case studies, and one-on-one meetings with mentorship focused on the development and financing of projects that will take them through the whole scope of skills needed to get a film into production and reach audiences. Group Leaders, Mehret Mandefro and Diana Elbaum, Story Expert, Mmabatho Kau, Finance Guru, Linda Beath and leading Legal, Dayo Ogunyemi, will be mentoring these producers, with a host of film industry experts in support such as Femi Odugbemi and Katriel Schory.


For the third year in a row, the Atlas Workshops partners with the DOX BOX program Powered by DOX Garage, offering support for documentary films taking part in the Atlas Station consultations. Six feature-length documentary projects will benefit from a one-hour consultation with an expert provided by DOX BOX. Furthermore, a training session around The Use of Archives for Documentaries and Fiction will be jointly presented during this edition. 

Ouaga Film Lab

The Ouaga Film Lab, a development and co-production laboratory for professionals from West, Central and Great Lakes Africa, takes place every year in Burkina Faso. Since 2020, the Atlas Workshops Award is given to a producer or filmmaker from the selection, who benefit from an artistic consultation to further develop their projects. 

In 2021, the award was given to director and producer Yoro Mbaye, who received a professional invitation to the 5th edition of Atlas Workshops in 2022. The 2022 laureate project Our Sweet Hell by Katya Aragão and produced by Séverine Catelion will benefit from an online consultation with a scriptwriter.

Realness African Screenwriters Residency

Since 2020, the Atlas Workshops Award has been given to one of the residents of the Realness programme, which supports African filmmakers in the writing and development phases of their projects. The laureates benefit from an artistic consultation to further develop their projects. 

The winner of the 2022 award is Sudanese filmmaker Ahmad Mahmoud with his project in development, Specters of Alhoot