Abdeslam Kelai


Hayat is released after serving a long prison sentence. She returns to her hometown in northern Morocco, where she finds herself faced with a brother who refuses to welcome her for fear of shame. Hayat merely wishes to see her son so she can explain the truth to him. She meets Amal, who works in a fruit factory and takes care of Houda, her sister who is two years her junior and suffers from a severe disability. The courage and strength of these three women drives them forward in the face of exclusion, exploitation and marginalisation.

Director of photography

Ayoub Lamrani


Ilias Lakhmass

Music Composer

Richard Horowitz

Main Cast

Jalila Talemsi, Nisrine Erradi, Farida Bouazzaoui, Khalil Oubaaqa, Mohamed Choubi, Amine Ennaji, Zakaria Atifi


Mouton Rouge Films (Morocco)
Abdeslam Kelai


NadaCom Design (Morocco)
Abdeslam El Meftahi

Director’s statement

To allow viewers to immerse themselves in the story of Goldfishes, I have opted for a visual and narrative style that favours a camera placed as close as possible to the actors, overlapping dialogue, long takes, in-shot editing, ellipses and condensation, natural light and colour, plausible improvisation among actors and discreet music rooted in Moroccan heritage. I want this film to be an artistic work that conveys a socially relevant, strong drama with a nervous rhythm that reflects a raw reality.


Abdeslam Kelai
Abdeslam Kelai
Director & producer

Born in 1969 in Larache, Morocco, Abdeslam Kelai is a director, screenwriter and producer. He began his career in 2003 with the release of his first short film, Happy Day. He has directed several feature-length films for television: Majda (2004), Les hommes et la mer, Eaux noires and La dame de l'aube, for which he won the prize for Best Television Film at the Amman Television Festival. Both Amour et colère and Le silence de la mémoire received the Grand Prize at the Meknes Television Festival. He also shot the series Aïn Al Haq, which was a great success and was very well received by critics. For the cinema, Kelai has directed the short films Un formidable voyage, À ton chevet and Le recrutement before shooting his first feature-length film, Malak (2012), which won numerous awards. Goldfishes is his second feature, and is slated for release in early 2021.

Total budget

€380 000

Financing secured

€180 000

Shooting period and locations

September 2019, Larache, North of Morocco

Expected delivery

Early 2021

Stage of post-production


Looking for

Festivals, international sales agent, distribution

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