Magazine article Variety

Moroccan Cinephile Grows Local Film Biz

Magazine article Variety

Moroccan Cinephile Grows Local Film Biz

Article excerpt

FEATURED PLAYER

Ever since he took the reins at the Moroccan Cinema Center (CCM) in 2003, film and TV exec Noureddine Sail has played a pivotal role in building Morocco's film industry.

Under his stewardship, domestic production has tripled and local films have captured a 20% share of the national box office - while also raising their profile at A-list film festivals.

Born in 1948, in Tangier, Sail grew up in a multicultural environment. An ardent filmgoer and street soccer player as a child, he excelled in school and got his doctorate from the U. of Rabat at 21.

While working as a philosophy teacher in the late '60s, he launched a film club in his garage that grew to 80,000 members nationwide.

By 1970, he was editing Cinema3 magazine, which campaigned for a stronger Moroccan film industry. "We fought for the images and sounds of Morocco by local filmmakers who tried to project national identity through their own eyes," Sail says.

He also wrote film criticism and penned several scripts, before being appointed programming director at Morocco pubcaster TVM in 1984.

Five years later, he moved to Paris to join the international channel division of French pay TV giant, Canal Plus. "We were launching channels in Spain, Belgium, Germany and Africa," he recalls.

Subsequently, he was program buyer and director of Canal Plus Horizons, which broadcasts to Africa.

In 2000, Sail returned to Morocco as director of ailing pubcaster 2M and helped turn it around through extensive recapitalization, greater reliance on inhouse programming, and an ambitious slate of 70 TV movies. …

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