Programmes 2023

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.

Cinematheques as Fertile Spaces for Living Film Cultural Heritage

With Hana Al Bayaty (Director / Iraq, France), Farah-Clémentine Dramani-Issifou (Programmer, Curator, Researcher / France, Benin), Hania Mroue (Programmer, Distributor / Lebanon) and Narjiss Nejjar (Director, Director of the Cinémathèque Marocaine/ Morocco)

Moderator: Samia Labidi (NAAS, Tunisia)

Drawing on insightful experiences from Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, and Senegal, this panel discussion sheds light on the transformative potential of cinematheques as more than merely repositories of archival material. Rather, these sanctuaries of cinema have the potential of becoming dynamic, fertile sites of production that engage with specific and shared film cultural heritage – past, present, and future. The distinguished panelists, whose extensive involvement in cinema spans decades, offer invaluable contributions to ideas around creating and sustaining spaces dedicated to the preservation and appreciation of our rich cinematic history, as well as providing access to it. They explore the multifaceted role of the cinematheque, which encompasses the curation of collections, research endeavours, and innovative curation strategies.

Between Thriller and Investigative Film: Genre Codes in the Work of Tarik Saleh

A discussion with Tarik Saleh (Sweden, Egypt) about his most recent work, Boy from Heaven, which won the Best Screenplay award at the 2022 Festival de Cannes

Moderator: Jay Weissberg (The film verdict, USA)

This conversation focuses on Tarik Saleh’s writing process and his bold mix of police procedural elements with other genre codes that are made all the more complex by a large number of characters. The discussion also explores how Saleh worked with alternate spaces during the writing and shooting processes to re-create Cairo, and delves into his use of the city’s urban fabric and architecture in his creative process.

Crafting the Imagination

Case study: Special effects in Sofia Alaoui’s Animalia

With Sofia Alaoui (Director / Morocco, France), Faycel Azmi (VFX Artist, Graphic Designer / Morocco), Arnaud Fouquet (VFX Supervisor / France), and Julien Fouré (Editor / Morocco)

Moderator: Myriam Sassine (Maskoon Fantastic Film Festival, Lebanon)

An enlightening discussion featuring Moroccan filmmaker Sofia Alaoui, alongside VFX professionals Arnaud Fouquet, Faycel Azmi and Julien Fouré. The dynamic Alaoui-Fouquet duo takes us behind the scenes of Animalia, winner of the 2023 Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize, to unveil the details of their collaboration and demonstrate how they transformed Alaoui’s imaginative vision into impressive special effects. Our four invited professionals will highlight the synergy necessary between directors and special effects designers to successfully complete the production and post-production of a film. The conversation will also be an opportunity to explore VFX and its challenges in Morocco, as well as the studios that develop their know-how on a national and international level—enough to inspire filmmakers wishing to incorporate ambitious visual effects into their storyelling.

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 sixth edition, the Co-Production Market brings together more than 250 international industry professionals.

Atlas Station

Atlas Station is open to those professionals holding accreditation for the Atlas Workshops who wish to enhance their skills. Once again, it offers a range of talks and personal consultations with international experts who are in attendance to share their experience and knowledge in a variety of fields, from writing to broadcasting. Professionals who are already registered with Atlas Station may take part in the modules of their choice, according to their needs and interests.

Two sections provide the best possible support for participants: Collective and Individual Training.

Dense and concise, the sessions allow a more direct exchange between participants and experts. Open to all accredited Atlas Workshops participants who wish to deepen their knowledge, the 45 to 60-minute modules are led by international experts who share their experience and advice in a variety of fields.


Developing, Financing and Running a Succesful Animation Project
Speaker: Sébastien Onomo (Producer - France)

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.


How to Attract Platforms with a Project for a Series
Speakers: Mehret Mandefro (Producer - Ethiopia, South Africa) and Hédi Zardi

The temptation, both artistic and financial, to create and produce a series is increasingly strong – but, how should you articulate your ideas and present your concept? What are the tools and best practices, and the pitfalls to avoid, during development?


Film Festivals and Professional Events for Short Films: An Overview
Speaker: Camille Hébert-Benazet 

A presentation of the festivals, markets, and events that present short films – their identity and discrete features, as well as opportunities for student or professional productions.


Reserved for invited participants, these scheduled consultations of 45 to 60 minutes provide the opportunity to sit down with the experts to discuss and diagnose the obstacles that can hinder the progress of documentary or fiction projects. Invaluable support for projects at the stages of development, financing, or post-production.

Jennifer Sabbah-Immagine (producer – France), Nadia Ben Rachid (editor – Tunisia, France), Jihan El-Tahri (director, screenwriter, producer – Egypt, Germany), Yasmine Benkiran (director, screenwriter – Morocco, France), Amine Bouhafa (composer – Tunisia, France), and Lara Panah-Izati (screenwriter – Iran, France) provide consultation on the following nine projects:

Eg Rap (doc)
Mohamed El Manasterly (Egypt, France)
Yoro Mbaye (Senegal)
First Born
Machérie Ekwa Bahango (Democratic Republic of the Congo)
I Will Remember You (doc)
Mohamed Rida Gueznai (Morocco)
Le Lac bleu
Daoud Aoulad-Syad (Morocco)
Khadidiatou Sow (Senegal)
Nowhere but Here
Selma Bargagh (Morocco)

Stereo Man (doc)
Sheriya Twana (Central African Republic)
The Chaos (doc)
Younes Jaddad (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 Arab world and African continent.

FOCUS | Creative Producer Indaba


Fifteen diverse producers from around the globe have been selected to participate in the second Creative Producer Indaba (CPI) which takes place online from 6 November this year, and in-person at the Atlas Workshops, as well as at International Film Festival Rotterdam (25 January—4 February 2024). Indaba then culminates in a programme of online sessions from 8—12 April 2024. The CPI offers this unique opportunity to 10 African producers, with and without projects, as well as 5 international producers to bolster their leadership and entrepreneurial capabilities, and foster professional networks that span across both Africa and the international stage.

Selected participants includes Adja Mariam Soro (Ivory Coast), Chloé Ortolé (Senegal), Dantagos Jimmy-Melani (Namibia), Godisamang Khunou and Nomusa Nkabinde (South Africa), are all seeking their next landmark venture and will use this opportunity to network, engage and seek out projects to become involved in. Actively seeking international collaborators and financial backing to bring their visionary creations to life, African producers with projects in development include Dhia Jerbi (Tunisia), Kudakwashe Maradzika (South Africa/Zimbabwe), Misha Maseka (Zambia), Stefan Supplice (Morocco) and Tapiwa Chipfupa (Zimbabwe).The international producers include Anouk Shad (Austria), Marie Ka and Sherien Barsoum (Canada), Rhea Plangg (Switzerland) and Yolanda Barroso (Brazil), who join the CPI with interest in investing and engaging with African film projects.

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 Tracey Lee Rainers, and leading Legal, Dayo Ogunyemi, will be mentoring these producers, with a host of film industry experts in support such as Femi Odugbemi and Constanza Arena.

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 benefited from an online consultation with a scriptwriter. The 2023 laureate is Rima Kerkebane with the film Taddart (Algeria).

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 was Sudanese filmmaker Ahmad Mahmoud with his project in development, Specters of Alhoot. This year, the award was given to the project in development Galatians by Michael Omonua (Nigeria).