For over four decades, Martin Scorsese has been one of the world’s most influential film artists. An ardent defender of cinema, the legendary director is a long-time supporter of the Marrakech International Film Festival, which he has attended on five occasions. In 2023, Scorsese returns to take part in the festival’s 20th edition. Scorsese has also agreed to take on the role of Patron of the 6th edition of the Atlas Workshops, the festival’s industry programme dedicated to talent from the African continent and the Arab world. Scorsese is the first major artist invited to be the patron of the workshops, and will lend his name to this year’s cohort of filmmakers.
“I am always happy to be returning to my beloved Marrakech Film Festival—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 to guide them on their way. I look forward to seeing old friends, and to making new ones.”
The Atlas Workshops is an industry talent development programme launched in 2018 by the Marrakech International Film Festival. It supports the emergence of a new generation of Moroccan, Arab, and African filmmakers and creates a space and environment for exchanges between international professionals and regional talent. Over its five editions to date, the Atlas Workshops has to date supported 111 projects and films, of which 48 hail from Morocco. In recent years, several films supported by the Atlas Workshops have been selected for and won prizes at major international festivals, confirming the programme’s role as a key platform for incubation of work from the African continent and the Arab world. At the Festival de Cannes this year, four films supported by the workshops were screened in various sections: THE MOTHER OF ALL LIES by Asmae El Moudir (Un Certain Regard—Best Director; L’Œil d’Or for Best Documentary); HOUNDS by Kamal Lazraq (Un Certain Regard—Jury Prize); INSHALLAH A BOY by Amjad Al Rasheed (Semaine de la critique—Gan Foundation Award for Distribution); and DESERTS by Faouzi Bensaïdi (Directors’ Fortnight).
The upcoming edition of the Atlas Workshops will be marked by the presence of Martin Scorsese, who will take part in several sessions with the project teams in attendance. In doing so, the director will inaugurate a new tradition at the Marrakech International Film Festival: annually, a major figure of world cinema will be invited to be the patron of the Atlas Workshops. Each year’s cohort of participants will bear the name of that year’s patron. As such, 2023’s Atlas Workshop filmmakers will be the Class of Martin Scorsese.
The 6th edition of the Atlas Workshops will take place from 27 to 30 November, alongside the 20th edition of the Marrakech International Film Festival, which runs from 24 November to 2 December 2023.