Moroccan director Zeinab Wakrim won the third prize in the 76th edition of the “Schools of Cinema at the Cannes Festival” competition with her short film “Ayur,” which took place from the 16th to the 27th of this month. The prize was unveiled on Thursday during a ceremony held in the Buñuel Theater, which was followed by the screening of the winning films.
The Short Films and La Cinef Jury, presided over by Ildikó Enyedi and comprised of Ana Lily Amirpour, Shlomi Elkabetz, Charlotte Le Bon, and Karidja Touré, awarded the top prizes. The La Cinef competition featured 16 student films from 13 countries, selected from a pool of 2,000 entries representing 476 film schools worldwide.
Among the winners, “Norwegian Offspring,” directed by Marlene Emilie Lyngstad, claimed the first prize (€15,000), while Hwang Hyein’s “Hole” secured the second prize (€11,250). Zeinab Wakrim’s “Ayur” received the third prize, amounting to €7,500.
“Ayur”, which means the Moorn” in Tamazight, is a 13-minute film that revolves around the story of 14-year-old Hasna and Samad, who discover solace and light amidst darkness through art and painting. It portrays their journey in finding meaning and escape from the limitations imposed by xeroderma pigmentosa syndrome, a rare disease that causes extreme sensitivity to ultraviolet radiation.
The film’s talented cast includes cinematographer Amine Berrada, editor Pierre Bael, and sound designers Mehdi Mahmoudi and Mehdi Jaouari. The main characters are portrayed by Samad Ait Sarih (Samad) and Hasna Haddad (Hasna), with Salah Haddad (Salah) and Hassan Ait Sarih (Hassan) completing the ensemble.
Zeinab Wakrim, as a Moroccan Amazigh director, is a testament to the evolving landscape of cinema in Morocco, showcasing the rich cultural heritage and diverse narratives that captivate audiences on a global scale. With her win at Cannes, Wakrim stands as a symbol of emerging talent and a harbinger of the future of Amazigh cinema, expressing her dedication to developing herself and fostering the Amazigh language through her cinematic endeavors.