Animated cinema comes to Meknes

FICAM is held in the French Institute of Meknes

The award winning “Ernest & Célestine” kickstarted Friday the twelfth edition of the Meknes International Animated Film Festival of (FICAM) at the French Institute in the Ismailite capital of Morocco.
“Ernest & Célestine”, directed by Benjamin Renner, Vincent Patar et Stéphane Aubier, depicts a story about an unusual friendship between a bear who did not want to become a judge and a mouse who did not want to become a dentist.
Ernest became close friends with Célestine after meeting in unfortunate circumstances. They found themselves chased by the world of bears (the upper world) and the world of mice (the underworld) for the “crimes” they committed. However, Ernest and Célestine showed both worlds that they care about others despite the animosity between bears and mice, breaking all prejudices.
The film, which adapts the book series by Gabrielle Vincent, was screened in the auditorium to a packed audience.
Prior to the film screening, FICAM announced Abdellatif Elayyady from the Arts School of Tetouan as the winner of the Aïcha Animation Grand Prix for his short animated film “Walima” (Feast).

Elayyady receiving his prize money

The award, which offers a prize money of Dhs50,000 to the winner, seeks to support and encourage young Moroccan artists.
FICAM’s 12th edition, which is organised by the French Institute of Meknes and the Conserves de Meknès Aïcha, has Belgian animation as a special theme in partnership with the Wallonia-Brussels delegation in Rabat.
The six-day Festival will showcase more than 50 animated short and long films besides workshops, conferences and exhibitions. An international competition for short films will also take place.
Mohammed Beyoud, artistic director of the French Institute of Meknes,told Middle East Online thatthe FICAM’s goals was to bring the best animated films and independent filmmakers to the Moroccan audience in Meknes and organise workshops for arts students coming from all parts of Morocco.
There are two Moroccan film producers who are taking part in the International Competition of Short Films.
“Mehdi Ouazzani, who attended our workshops, is participating with his animated short film. There are also some young Moroccans who are taking part in the “Maarifa” (Knowledge) programme, which is destined to young Arab and Mediterranean filmmakers,” noted Beyoud.
He highlighted the strong partnership with the Conserves de Meknès Aïcha in organising the Festival which is gaining more international fame thanks to its rich programme.
British filmmaker Peter Lord, whose film “The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists!” will be screened during the Festival,told Middle East Online that he was very appreciative of the French system.
It is Lord's first participation in FICAM

“In France, they celebrate independent filmmakers while in the English-speaking world we are dominated by the American movie industry. It is nice to be in a festival that is not centred toward America,” said Lord.
“The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists!” is a British-American 3D stop-motion animated adventure comedy film which was nominated for the 2013 Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.
The animated film tells the story of the pirate captain and his crew of amateur pirates who are trying to win the Pirate of the Year competition.
“The film has been dubbed into French. The comedy is very English but I don’t know if the jokes translate. Let’s wait and see,” said Lord.