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Marrakech Film Festival: The Mother of All Lies Brings Asmae El Moudir Back Home


Asmae El Moudir
This year, and for the first time in the history of the Marrakesh Film Festival, the Étoile d’Or was awarded to a Moroccan film, The Mother of All Lies by Asmae El Moudir. A film dear to the festival as it was birthed at their very own Atlas Workshops.

The Mother of All Lies is a documentary that follows El Moudir’s own journey, a Moroccan woman searching for truth that tangles with a web of lies in her family history. As a daughter and filmmaker, she fuses personal and national history in the history of Morocco.

Arabian Moda spoke to the award-winner about her emotional journey with The Mother of All Lies.

AM: How was it like to film your family, especially your grandmother who is the heroine of the story?
AEM: The documentary is based on my family’s story, I asked them the questions I’ve been asking since 2013. I woke up every morning to check if my grandmother and family are fine. Because I love them, but I also needed to make sure they will finish the project with me and tell their entire stories. For me, it’s a very complicated film because I thought I was doing it with people I knew and that it would be an easy experience. But my family was also scared and it was challenging to break their silence.

AM: You mentioned your mission as a producer of the film…
AEM: I witnessed all the kind of scams that I can in a project. There were a lot of people who wanted to take advantage of my film and my naivety. After that I took the decision to produce the film myself with the help of genuine people in the field. I was the real producer, it wasn't easy but I couldn't let go of my story, the story of my parents, family and neighbors. It was a topic that was very sensitive and that I had to protect for years. That's why I often refused the money because I didn't want any obligations, if there's money and freedom, I accept, if there's no freedom, I don't sign. So, I started gathering money slowly since 2017 from people and intuitions who wanted to make a good documentary.

AM: Tell us about your experience in the Atlas Workshops…
AEM: I did the workshops, I won twice in development and post production. They helped us by bringing all these beautiful people from Cannes and everywhere in the world to discuss our project and get the support we needed.  

AM: Your advice to film creators in our region?
AEM: You have to read and watch all the movies you can. You need to have passion and dream every day and never let go of this dream. No matter what the obstacles, no matter what the problems, you have a mission to accomplish. You have to let time be the revelator. The road is too complicated so passion needs to be your source of force. I put all the money and effort in this project that took me decades of work and here I am.