Renowned filmmaker Martin Scorsese has been appointed as the official patron for the sixth edition of the Atlas Workshops, an industry program dedicated to emerging talent from Africa and the Middle East at the Marrakech International Film Festival (MIFF). The Atlas Workshops will take place from November 27–30, coinciding with the 20th edition of the film festival, scheduled from November 24–December 2.
Scorsese has been a long-time supporter of the Moroccan festival, having attended it five times. In 2013, he chaired the festival’s jury, and in 2018, he paid tribute to Robert De Niro with an honorary presentation. As the first major artist invited to be the patron of the workshops, Scorsese’s name will be associated with this year’s group of filmmakers. The filmmakers participating in the 2023 Atlas Workshops will be celebrated as the “Class of Martin Scorsese.”
Expressing his enthusiasm for the event, Scorsese said, “I am always happy to be returning to my beloved MIFF, when I haven’t been able to attend in person, I’ve always been there in spirit. For this very special anniversary edition of the festival, I have been entrusted with a precious task: to interact with young filmmakers and help guide them on their way. I look forward to seeing old friends and making new ones.”
The Atlas Workshops were introduced in 2018 as a platform to support emerging Arab filmmakers. The program facilitates interaction between global industry professionals and local talent, fostering the growth of a new generation of filmmakers. Over the previous five editions, the Atlas Workshops have supported 111 projects and films, including 48 from Morocco.
This initiative highlights the value of mentorship and exposure to global perspectives, which can have a transformative impact on the development of the Middle Eastern film industry. It can inspire other film festivals to establish similar workshops and programs dedicated to fostering local talent and encouraging international collaboration. By bringing in acclaimed artists from around the world, these festivals can create opportunities for knowledge exchange, cultural dialogue, and the celebration of cinema as a universal art form.
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