February 25, 2024

Martin Scorsese will no longer attend nor participate in the Marrakech Film Festival’s Atlas Workshops, citing personal reasons.

The award-winning filmmaker was slated to serve as artistic godfather for Marrakech’s industry arm, which spotlights development titles and works-in-progress from dynamic new talents from across the MENA world. Lending his name to this year’s class, Scorsese planned to mentor the selected filmmakers, offering one-on-one artistic and strategic advice for each and every project.

Unable to travel due to personal reasons, and preferring to engage with workshop participants in a more direct way, the filmmaker will take a rain check, promising to return, in person, for a subsequent edition. News broke from sources close to the Atlas team, while neither festival nor filmmaker are expected to make a formal statement.

Despite this recent turn, event organizers promise no further changes to a program that has quickly become a leading incubator for eye-turning fare.

Projects spotlighted at previous editions include Amjad Al Rasheed’s “Inshallah A Boy,” which premiered in Cannes’ Critics Week and will serve as Jordan’s Oscar selection, Lina Soualem’s “Bye Bye Tiberias,” which played Venice and Toronto, and will represent Palestine in the Oscar race, and Asmae El Moudir’s “The Mother of All Lies,” which claimed the best director prize out of this year’s Un Certain Regard in Cannes, and will serve as Morocco’s International Film entry.

“The idea is to have a proper platform that would allow these projects to have the time to developed and to meet international partners,” says Atlas Workshops director Hedi Zardi. “Over the course of four days we offer personal consultation panels, training and mentorships sessions and a coproduction market, all to help our selected filmmakers to share ideas, to develop their projects and to meet new and potential partners, launching the titles on the international market.”

Marrakech’s Atlas Workshop program will run from Nov. 27-30, while the wider festival goes until Dec. 3.  

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