Saïd Hamich Benlarbi
Morocco - France


Twenty-seven-year-old Nour has immigrated illegally to Marseille, where he and his friends live a marginal and festive life. From 1990 to 2000, Nour loves, grows older and clings to his dreams, damaged by the melancholy of an irreversible exile.

2nd feature

Barney Production (France)
Sophie Penson



The Jokers Films (France)
Manuel Chiche


Director’s statement

« L’exil m’a emporté dans un doux rêve, comme un enivrement au rhum, ne sachant où j’étais, attirant toutes les misères, ne comprenant qu’une fois vieillard »

— Slimane Azem, singer (1918-1983)

La Mer au loin is a fresco, the story of a decade that begins in 1990 and ends on the eve of a new millennium. In it, Nour undergoes the irreversible experience of exile, which I want to approach in an intimate and political way. In the face of an uprooting and a destructive melancholy, others—first through friendship and then through love—seem to be the only possible land of welcome and joy. La Mer au loin is a melodrama, inspired by Raï, about celebration, love and the passage of time. I hope to convey raw and vivid emotion. Ageless sensitivity and the question that remains: Can love save us from loneliness? 


Saïd Hamich Benlarbi
Saïd Hamich Benlarbi

A graduate of La Fémis and winner of the Jean-Luc Lagardère Foundation Film Producer Grant, Saïd Hamich Benlarbi is a French-Moroccan screenwriter, director and producer. He has collaborated with filmmakers including Nabil Ayouch, Meryem Benm’Barek, Faouzi Bensaïdi, Leyla Bouzid, Clément Cogitore, Philippe Faucon and Rachel Lang. In 2018, he directed his first film, Return to Bollene, which was nominated for the Prix Louis-Delluc for Best First Film. In 2021, his short film Le Départ was selected for one hundred international festivals — including in Namur, Rotterdam, Palm Springs, Nijmegen, Cleveland, Rhode Island, Clermont-Ferrand, Grenoble and Aubagne — and won twenty-seven awards and was nominated for a César Award in 2022. La Mer au loin is his second feature-length film.

Sophie Penson
Sophie Penson

Sophie Penson joined Barney Production as producer and development manager in 2016 after studying at La Fémis. She has produced short films by Vincent Tricon, Ilias El Faris, Randa Maroufi, Saïd Hamich Benlarbi and Camille Lugan, and collaborated on feature films Slumlord, Deserts and currently La Mer au loin.

Manuel Chiche
Manuel Chiche

In 2002, together with Jean Labadie, Manuel Chiche launched the production company Wild Side, which became a subsidiary of Wild Bunch in 2004, and was responsible for the distribution of Old Boy, Drive, Rec and Snowpiercer in France. In 2014, he created The Jokers Films with Violaine Barbaroux, which distributed Mademoiselle, Parasite and Teddy, and co-produced Message from the King, Welz, Brimstone and La Nuée. Spade, the production subsidiary of The Jokers, was created in 2020.

Total budget

€3 200 000 

Financing secured

€800 000

Shooting period and locations

September 2023, Marseille (France), Oran (Algeria)

Expected delivery

September 2024

Looking for

International sales agents, public and private funds, festivals

Other Projects in development