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Gepubliceerd: 03 juni 2024

The Pillars of Amazigh Film

Article by: Ali Oublal. Published in: The Amazigh Film in Souss. From Oblivion to the International Scene. Edited by Issni N’Ourgh Associaltion, 2014.

While I was involved in seeking the ways that affected the film in the heart of thSouss, I came up with diverse factors impinging on the movie. The first generation of films headed by Lahocine Bizguarn is the result of the associativework. Thanks to their conscious decision, they established the associations as a way to relive their sense of struggle other way. They are better at raising these associations than keeping cross-legs waiting for state support. Most obviously, associative work has been a major force in the revival of interest in Amazigh film, and especially in an age when the state received the Amazigh cultural and artistic personality with a plastic eye. Given importance to this account, one might hope to turn to the festivals as also one of the dependable. Sources of film distribution and success. This chapter does not also fail to mention the importance of oral history as a contributing factor to the success of a film among Imazighen. In condemning such sources as reliable, let's first shed light on the role of associations, second the contribution of film festivals and third the how oral heritage benefit the Amazigh film.

1. Theatrical Associations

Almost all opinions hold that there is a distinction .between theatre and cinema by and large. Each is independent from the other. They give rise to its standards of judgment and canons of form. The reason is that critics and theorists treat the history of cinema and theatre distinctively. The aim for fieldworkers of cinema is to achieve emancipation from theatre. However, still acting in the Amazigh movies do not escape yet from the impurities of theatricality for a number of reasons. The leading ones are going to be under focusable attention.

It would be a self-mockery to speak of the Moroccan artistic scene without mentioning Agaderian participation. Agadir's richness in ail aspects has its roots in its cultural diversity. It looks like a melting-pot. Its artistic profile has benefited a great deal from that advantage as well. Such differences make an Agaderian. contribution special in the Moroccan artistic and cultural sphere. It is a gateway to dissimilar cultures of Imazighen and non- Imazighen in festivals, concerts and so on. A mere quick glimpse at the history of theatre in the Souss can possibly showcase and confirm the above mentioned data. As an example, if we consider Tifawin Theatre, most of its members are from the nearest regions of the souss but not originally from Agadir. The same is valid for most of the active associations in the field of theatre in Agadir. With great excuse; I do say the account here does not permit me to mention ail activists in the associative theatrical domain. To draw an objective conclusion, the artistic and cultural scene, accordingly, is shared between natives and non-natives of Agadir. In this survey the attention is catching closely the two theatrical associations that help in shaping the Agaderian participation. They are the Inouraz and Tifawin associations that are of a great influence on the most number of artists with whom the audiences get a sort of familiarity in TV, DVDs and festival, etc. This does not mean that the other associations are beyond the scope, I do wish no more misunderstanding takes place; the choice here addresses only such frameworks. _They are at the core of our interest in such analytical approach because most of the crew of the two films in this work has started their artistic course in these two associations. This does not necessarily mean that the others are of an inconsiderable role; it would be unfair of me to say so. Also, the root can never be out of concern, that is why I am strongly convinced to put into focus both associations Amal Souss and Tamaynout Agadir that are Agaderian by birth in which local talents have been raised before the Inouraz association came into existence In this part hence, one way of opening this up to considered discussion is to focus on the pioneer associations  that gave birth to the first generation of actors, directors and technicians in the field and cinema. Strong parallel exist between these associations. This account will be much more developed through the emphasis on the history of both associations.

1.1. Tifawin Theatre

Today the audiences are familiar with a number of faces in the Amazigh art namely video films, cinema and television films. Others are introduced to the field of cinema and film production. Mostly observable, a great number of youth make use of cinematography techniques. It may be worth bearing in mind, thus, that those most influential innovators have benefited from theatre at most. Other artists around the globe have made similar connection between theatre and moving pictures. Imazighen themselves with total share of experience have marked their presence. This justifies the great maximum importance of theatre in film industry and proves the interrelationship between cinema and theatre. Through several associations, Imazighen have embarked on the scene of cinema. The focus appear to give the lie to the career of both associations, Inouraz and Tifawine; the widely influential and active ones that have been able to arrive at the local opinion as a fruit of their achieved excellence.

The responsible sense about Amazigh identity and culture is also one of the bottom lines behind creating this framework. The beginning of "Tifawin theatre", in its course of struggle, was with theatre in parallel with animation of local parties, governmental and non-governmental, family balls and weddings. With their sense of humor and ironie style, they were able to constitute a large body of public namely Inezgane, Tarrast and Dcheira. In the end of the eighties. "Ajmil lghard” was broadcast regionally through a radio in Agadir. It was largely praised and, by the Souss residents, that motivated the cast, playwright, actors and technicians to develop the play-putting it into a live sequence as a video film directed and wrote by Ahmed Badouge. It was a successful step that bridged the gap between the artists in the Souss and the audience. The video flm''Ajmil lghard" was the third candle in the history of Amazigh audio-visual scene in the area of filmmaking yet the first performance in Tifawin repertory.

In the beginning of the nineties, the staff of Tifawin journeyed for the first time to Casablanca for their first show outside Agadir. Regardless of the tiring journey along which they travelled with horror as an upshot of an accident they suffered, their performance was appreciated and likeable by the audience. Their tragic flow did not stop at that limit, thereby it is of a paramount significance to mention with an if- only that "Tifawin theatre'' was asked to translate the whole play into Arabie putting it in placard before being exhibited in Meknes. In fact, it is another face of deliberate marginalization. What is more, the office of the association proposed to the committee of SNRT (TV) broadcasting the play on one of the Moroccan channels (2M and Al-Oula TV); the committee welcomed the initiative providing that no payment would be made for the cast of the play and even the association. The raised question here is that: Do all Moroccan associations work with Moroccan channels the same way? Or is it just another deceptive anecdote with which Amazigh has been familiar so long?

Praying for can never satisfy the needs, with this slogan Imazighen have carried on their career. What makes "Tifawin theatre" contribution special is its farsighted strategy capitalizing on its multiple talents that gave birth for its variety of services. The artistic repertory of "Tifawin theatre" was enriched also by sketches, TV shows, educational programs, cartoons and comedy shows etc. It was autonomously prepared addressing different ages.

"Tifawin theater" kept going its struggle under the leadership of Lahocin Bizguarn who lately joined the group. This invoice marked a turning point in the career of the association. His distinct touch comes from his experience first and his academic profile as a teacher, his sense of flexibility, patience and talent contributed to the success of "Tifawin theatre" in its artistic agenda. The first attempt with which Lahocin Bizguarn distinguished the group is his first video film "A golden woman" that can be classified as cinematic film in the case that Lahocin Bizguarn had access to technical equipment or just state support that time.

As no one can escape from weaknesses, "Tifawin theatre" itself took its part. Quite normal, different perspectives, academic levels, aims and ambitions gave rise to division between members of the association. However, still they are on the artistic way. Ahmed Nassih left his colleagues, Abdlatif Atif, Ahmed Badouge, Ahmed Aouinti, those who gave birth to another space to keep at their artistic career. After their meeting with Lahocine Bardwaz and young director Abdlaziz Oussyah, they established a new company "Ayouz Vision", box of production, which itself cannot be excluded from the light that is given for the audience at the level of VCD quality films. Furthermore, having much success in establishing another body of VCD films has brought them to the center of local attention. Without academic training in advance and absence of financial support, member of "Tifawin theater" came with such great success. The Tifawin experience, consequently, is all for Amazigh artists if not Moroccan ones. On the budget of self -learning they created for today what they have believed from the start. The truth is that Tifawin artists determined to make success of working their identity.

1.2. Inouraz Theatre

Together, both associations "Amal Souss" and "Tamaynout Agadir" have come into an effective operation to cradle Agaderian talents so far. In effect, these associations have been fruitful background for the Agaderian artistic competencies. Such talents themselves did not hesitate to get the most out of the above mentioned windows of opportunity working out their competencies and brushing up their inclinations as well as improving their sense of creation and associative voluntary work. With their inquisitive sense and purposeful move they successfully established another independent framework so that they might have proved their efficacious contribution to the associative work locally and regionally speaking of course. Continuity was also well-targeted behind such initiative.

"Inouraz", hence, has become an established association with a good reputation regionally then and now nationally. Its birth dates back to 1999. Meantime, its first work "Is gighe Afguan” took place. Its direction goes to the young artist Rachid Elhazmire. The play has been originally written by Moroccan playwright Youssef Fadil and it has been translated by Mohamed Anflous. Despite the fact that it was an initial try, it enjoyed a wide popularity because the Amazigh audience has thirsted for living their identity through moving image. The repertory of "Inouraz" association was stepped up enough by the initiative of Lahocine Morabih; with his film "seven Waves of lovers' he was able to quench the thirst of Amazigh audiences throughout the walks of the nation. The great success of the film is a rewarding experience for the humanistic philosophy of the director Abdellah Darri. With just merit; the film attracted a large interest and admiration of the audiences. The pen will be generous enough on this point, say, film "Lovers". The members of the association condensed their efforts into one for theatre, convinced enough they were, to continue achieving theatrical body of Imazighen. The play entitled "Irkan'' came into existence to ensure so, it a fruit of workshops writing; two hands are better than one. Undoubtedly yet Rachid Elhazmire has proved again his sense of direction in this play. Their distinct touch in the field of Amazigh theatre chiefly at the level of profound research in cultural and linguistic dimensions have distinguished them among other artists. They were encouraged by the Agaderian audience, which has handed them with the enthusiasm to carry on their path. The play" Irid "(28) and "Anrar" that saw light in 2003 and 2010 respectively are also the confirming creations of their conscious sense that theatre has a successful role in voicing out one's interest and identity. In other words, it is a reflective image of one's life. That period can be taken as a good start for the members of the Associations. As a result, nowadays Rachid Elhazmir and Mohamed Anflous continue their professional work both as a director and scenarist. However, Said Wardas, Siham Ilal, Khalid Elberkoui and others still live under the shade of acting and music. This justifies simply that the members have already planned their aim at creating then "Inouraz association'. Their perseverance makes it obvious. 'Inouraz association' thus has been set up to enrich, above all, the Moroccan artistic scene by and large and the Amazigh cultural artistic profile chiefly. Yet they were shocked by an earlier State setback that took place. For the objective of satisfying the artistic needs of lmazighen., Amazigh creators have planned to put aside all the possible difficulties that were in waiting in advance. Their self-motivation drove them to be at much of their creations and achievements. As mentioned earlier, their start was set about with theatre, besides this, members of Inouraz association expanded their interest by getting involved in other activities such as the organization of artistic manifestations, debates, seminars and workshops. An Amazigh poetry festival that started in 2004 can be given here as a good instance. Until now, still the Arnazigh poets throughout Morocco have chances to take part in such yearly activity.

On the balance, still Amazigh creations are faced with deaf ears by the state as the beautiful ones are yet barn, and it is somehow aching to live alienation at the heart of our nation. Among such huge attempts of lnouraz, only the last play Anrar was supported by the State. In spite of this, it is restricted to minimal efforts by IRCAM (Institute Royal de la culture Amazigh) and the Ministry of Culture. The capital that was given for the cast of the play did not suffice the requirements of the pre-performance stage of the play. Needless to declare more. Nearly ten years of constant work and sacrifices for the best of Moroccan artistic and cultural agenda at first hand, only one attempt that was supported by the state as if it is the only work that deserve attention. Unthinkable enough, yet Amazigh artists have no other way all but to change their plans towards that culture of image to guarantee at least their own daily living. In advance, film "Imouran" has already paved the way for them, from then until now, Inouraz competencies still play out their messages and revendicate their identity. It is quite clear to come up with the conviction that such competencies have not prioritized money any more in their indulging into artistic field, whatever it is. The film" Lovers" proves so; even though they were paid, the credit of the film declared that they were ready to work as volunteers. But the producer Lahocin Fouzi has worked out their efforts. In a nutshell, theatre for Inouraz association can never be a ghost town, like this they expressed themselves in my interview with them.

2. Film Festivals

1.2. An overview of festival importance

Different means are to this end, say, film distribution, but the most powerful factor in film success goes back to festivals, as it is the focal whole way to circulate film creations in different parts of the world. The festivals are like wings by which different cultures travel fast around the globe. Besides theatrical distribution, festivals become an important source of film earnings as most of film productions get their money through packages of DVDs. The festival circuit makes success of the film critically but financially is still of little account in Morocco. By the route of festivals, films have an opportunity to enlarge their audiences, exchange and change experiences and competencies of different directors and scenarists worldwide. Everyone gets a chance to benefit by being in touch with all types of films that rarely take their time on TV channels such as short films, documentaries, and feature-length narrative films. Regardless of such shareable functionalities, film festivals are guided differently. Sorne of them work for the development of industry, whereas others shift their focus towards the local creators' achievements progress. The third category functions as an art based business. At this point, the motivation that directs Issni N'Ourgh festival will be into effect at length.

1.2.1. Historical Context of Issni N'Ourgh Organization

Yet even though state support includes some Amazigh films, the Amazigh identity and culture are still far from complete interest and considerable account of the Moroccan power. Of this failing the Issni N'Ourgh association is very conscious. Deliberate cover up and well-planned marginalization are of a great deal behind such little regard to Amazigh component. The birth, thus, of several associations and organizations nationwide have come into existence to be of help. Amongst these frameworks, the association Issni N' Ourgh has become a Souss representative through its cultural and artistic activities. More cannot be said in this vein about its success without a quick glance at its development.

1. 2. 2. Issni N'Ourgh Association
A. its ends

Together on the way, a group of the Souss youth regrouped their efforts as well as their talents to work their identity and culture through media and press in order that Amazigh heritage would, hence, live throughout the nation and the globe as well. In 2006, the staff of Issni N' Ourgh organization inaugurated their career to reconsider and remove the old-fashioned views and ill-thinking about Amazigh component. In advance, the association aims at developing the artistic quality of Amazigh creations and productions, bridging the gap between the old generation and this generation. Among their purposes, the widespread of the I-culture across the globe becomes also one of their priorities. With the objective of supporting youth creations namely enhancing the quality of writing scenarios, they yearly organized trainings and workshops for the benefit of rural and urban youngsters. The
workshops and training days are widely opened both for professionals and amateurs, as well as for newcomers too. To this end, the association bas launched an aid funds project to prop up a number of scenarios that have been selected by juries. The association, with great responsibility, finances the project of film throughout its stages. This project is established for all the artists of the world with the condition that Amazigh identity must be at the heart of interest. Aid fund is unquestionably the first initiative in Morocco among Imazighen. Technical approach to audio visual scene itself is not out of the concern by the association. Its members also target the critics and writers about Amazigh culture in the field of art, chiefly Amazigh film and cinema. Their dreams come true today. Until now, the association of Issni N'ourgh has published five books about Amazigh film. Moreover, the association is an established space for the projection of films from different areas in the globe.· The history of this association would be convincing for, on the one hand, the state to be at the hands of youth so that they can work successfully their nation and identity and on the other hand, for the other associations and organizations to lead the same way aiming to promote a sense of professionalism and competitiveness among producers. All the efforts that have been made through its activities converge with each other to increase the quality of Moroccan drama production. In existence for no more than eight years, association's achievements are innumerable. Above all; such kind of work is at most for the best of Morocco. Responsible attention, therefore, must take place because this initiative of lssni N ourgh has thrived during the course of its work.

2. 2. 2. Its achievements

B. Caravan

Of a paramount significance is to bring the role of the caravan Issni N'Ourgh into practice showing the distinct trait of the association among cultural and artistic organizations in the Moroccan scene. With the courageous step and sense of responsibility, the staff of the organization have been working on the caravan as a vehicle by which the organization travels to the Amazigh audiences in different walks of the Souss region. Noble objectives have led them despite the financial impediments which they faced. This attached importance to the caravan is simply justified by its pivotal role in working Amazigh identity and culture. With the aim of sensitizing the residents of suburbs to the importance of that culture of image and media in the transfer of the culture and identity, the caravan project has been brought to the fore. Nonetheless an ongoing marginalization, rural audiences begin to live different cultural repertories of their identity via the projection of films that takes place in their towns. Thanks to the committee of the Issni N'Ourgh organization, the large audience gets an opportunity to be in touch with artists and new films too. Regionally speaking, the caravan Issni 'N'ourgh plays an important role in the democratization of the cultural movement. Also, this renaissance period in the history of Amazigh film fingers the list of the association priorities. The approval among rural inhabitants of the Souss- Massa Region and Guelmim-Smara region has archived the initiative of Issni N'ourgh Caravan as a promising effort in the history of Amazigh audio-visual and Moroccan scene. The marginalized audiences, thus, praise the Caravan and the initiatives of Issni N'ourgh as a whole.

C. Issni N'ourgh Festival

The 'Issni N'ourgh' imposes itself as an important archival reference in the history of audio -visual scene in filmmaking of Imazighen. Responding to the afore underlined motivations that direct organizers, this cultural event has created a predominant reputation by the cultural diversity of its activities. Cooperatively, the efforts' artists of the Souss translate the potentials and aspirations of Imazighen into a twelve-monthly living reality. It is an Amazigh platform for the heterogeneous creations all over the world.

The staff of the Issni N Ourgh organization is rather successful in creating this background for not only local Amazigh artists but the Amazigh artists of the world. Bettering their talents, expressing their interests and communicating out their concerns through the eye of the camera can be fulfilled thus. Via this window, Imazighen, worldwide, enjoy an occasion to make their identity heard to the globe as well. Itis also are liable gate for mutual exchange all over the world. Such becomes evident through its annual conferences supervised by well-experienced critics from different areas in the world. In addition to that, the maximum popularity Issni N'ourgh has is proved by its partnerships with some State institutions and frameworks of the similar concern and the same ends. Both national and international partnerships are the two facets that strengthen the presence of Amazigh production in film industry besides the empowerment of a would-be sustainable relationship with the activists in the field. As well as this, the success that the Amazigh festival organizers and attendants draw to the Amazigh film is obviously demonstrated in the publications around the Amazigh films including review, filmography and criticism. In parallel with the projection of films from different lands of Imazighen, debates and conferences about the cinema industry become an annual habit of organizers. Together, they have stepped to the best of film industry quality. The Issni N'ourgh committee follows their way despite last long challenges. Still the ashes of such cultural events continue to smoulder among politicians, as they create a
responsible and serious dispute among local authorities and are widely debatable amongst academics.

Stepping yet further since its birth, the committee of Issni N' Ourgh has shaped its way. With total agreement, it is the biggest challenge under such living conditions to realize success. It is therefore imperative that unconditioned help must be handed for such kind of initiatives.

3. Moroccans Association of Research and Cultural Exchange

3.1. General Background

Besides the initiative of lssni N'Ourgh organization, the Moroccan Association of Research and Cultural Exchange has appeared on the floor since 1975 with the first attempt that showed a complete consciousness of the danger that threatened Amazigh culture and planned downgrading that has been exercised over Imazighen for many years. The association is the fruit of the efforts of a huge body of university students. This try has taken place as reaction against the ostracism and discrimination that Amazigh culture and identity have lived tenaciously under the local authorities and the state. The first and foremost of its priorities in general is the development of Amazigh culture and language throughout Morocco. This aim has pushed the founders of this framework to do their best setting up annexes of this association in different cities of Morocco such as Agadir, Rabat. Warzazat and Casablanca. etc. This association has put within their associative program a set of aims to reach. The start was with the illiteracy courses program for the trade men and business men; the members of the association were also interested in gathering and archiving the oral heritage of Amazigh culture putting them in a form of pieces of writing. A set of books was published in this regard. The activity of Moroccan Association of Research and Cultural Exchange has focused its attention on the foundation of an Amazigh speech marking to face the discriminatory ideology against the Amazigh movement. In addition to that, this association gathered its endeavors to achieve the best in Amazigh culture and identity through the route of cultural and artistic activities. For this finality, the National Festival of Amazigh Film has been reated.

3.2. National Festival of Amazigh Film

This cultural and artistic newborn, Moroccan festival of Amazigh film, under the presidency of Ibrahim Akhyate has came into existence since 2000. The first candle of Moroccan festival of Amazigh film was celebrated in Casablanca. Yet, the other editions took place in Africa Hollywood, Warzazat city, as all most call it. It is an attempt that gave a chance to producers, directors, actors and technicians to exchange and share their experiences with each other. Behind this activity, the organizers have worked best to prepare new generations for an artistic career by arranging seminars, round tables, trainings and formations at the level of film making. The festival is also a large national network for communication between artists and critics. For southern inhabitants, it is an occasion through which they can be in touch with artistic productions and the artists as well. Indeed, it was an incomparable and distinctive initiative, but its light has faded away soon with the absence of lbrahim Akhyate in the cultural sphere. The disappearance of this symbol is quite reasonable because Ibrahim Akhyate has fallen as a victim of an illness so many years. However, the association must carry on its course of struggle otherwise this cultural and artistic movements will be doomed to a total loss if the productivity of the artistic associations and institutes is mainly put on the burden of a single individual's activity. In spite of all that, Ibrahim Akhyate's heritage lives on.

4. Oral History

The historian Andor Skotnes comments that 'people's oral history has a contribution to make to the South African transition" be adds that "a great wealth of experience with oral history exists in South Africa and other regions, where there are enormous resources available in the country to anyone interested in oral history. "The same goes in all cultures and civilizations. It is of an interesting role in the reconstruction process. Historians, anthropologists, sociologists and artists can establish a vital relationship between present and past through the exploration of oral historical events. J. Tosh states that 'it is an effective instrument for re-creating the past'. It is an important possibility that creates an opportunity for people to be in a direct touch with their subject matters and social alterations. Oral History looks like a mirror that reflects individual experiences, ordinary or particular, social history of everyday life can be best lived effectively by virtue of oral history.

Almost all cultures including Europe were at their outset oral. Little by little; such historical heritage sees light with writing process thanks to historians, artists and others. The prominence of oral history and culture as a source of creation is increasing recently. It is a means of transmitting knowledge, cultural and social values and community memory from generation to another, which plays a momentous role in safeguarding the culture of the societies. The artists 'hand cannot be ignored yet it must be confessed that they are of a weighty significance in documenting their own cultural identity via their artistic projects As we notice nowadays, most of cinematic works that enjoy great success are inspired by the old myth and stories that were oral beforehand. Others are the tentative adaptation of some novels and novellas that some of them are taken from historical legends.

The Agaderians plot the same story in this area of creation. A step back to Amazigh film repertory in the Souss since 1991 exposes that good works and successful are adaptations of some historical myths and legends. The film of "Lovers " is a case in point. The works of Abdlaziz Oussayh are also mirrored images of Amazigh myths and old stories. Without such responsible consciousness by the artists, the oral culture and heritage might be doomed to death.