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Abdeslam Kelai

Abdeslam Kelai

Director of Malak, Morocco

Q: What film inspired you to start a career as a filmmaker?

A: Not specially a film, but a kind of cinema. Italian neo-realist movies, the French Nouvelle Vague and the Eastern European cinema initially influenced me. I started learning cinema in the cine-club of my small city in the North of Morocco, and this kind of film was the basic program. In commercial movie theatres, I watched a lot of spaghetti westerns, thrillers and war films.

Q: Did you make Malak with a specific audience in mind?

A: Yes, young people and teenagers because the problem that the film introduces will interest that age group the most. It is at this age that we discover love and sexuality. At the same time, we discover the mechanisms by which society indoctrinates and controls us.

Q: What memorable events happened during the production of Malak?

A: It was the day I had decided to give the role to a young girl who had never acted in films before, which was an incredible adventure because she appears throughout the entire film. It was like jumping in the void, trusting my instinct and hoping for a miracle to happen.

Q: What did you learn from working on Malak?

A: Filmmaking takes an almost unreasonable amount of trust. Surround yourself with greatness to ease that anxiety.

Q: If you could work with any actor, living or dead, who would it be?

A: Marlon Brando, Robert De Niro, Harvey Keitel and Sean Penn.

Click here to view screening dates and times for Malak.