Rabat – Two Moroccan films have made it to the 14th Mobile Film Festival focusing on human rights, gender equality, the migrant crisis, and the struggles of LGBTQ+ individuals.
The Mobile Film Festival invites participants globally to make a one-minute film using their mobile phones. This year, the festival’s theme, “#StandUp4HumanRights,” commemorates the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).
The festival’s films featured sensitive topics, such as the migrant crisis, violence against women, and homophobia. It ran November 6-27.
On December 4 in Paris, winning candidates will receive €20,000 which will go towards the production of a short film.
Of 715 submissions from 81 countries, the festival’s jury selected 51 films from 19 countries, including the two Moroccan short mobile films, “Wet Drawing” and “Article 1.”
The perils of undocumented migration
“Wet Drawing” addresses the issue of the migrant crisis. In just one minute, it depicts a tragic story of families crossing the sea to seek asylum, only to lose “everything during their suicidal journeys.” This is not far from the reality of irregular migration.
The film, by Achraf Maadadi, shows a man reading at the beach, who notices his two children digging out objects from the wet sand: schoolbooks and wet papers. As the man makes his way to the shore, he discovers a worn out, soggy teddy bear, a child’s bag, and a wet drawing.
The child’s family drawing read, in faded colors, “Mama” and “Papa.” With a sad expression, the man looks up from the drawing and leaves, allowing the sea to swallow the lonely, wet drawing.
Thousands of migrants throw themselves at the mercy of the sea in search of a better life. Those that do survive see that sometimes reality is not what they had expected, while others drown with their dreams.
In the first nine months of 2018, 13 percent of the undocumented migrants who attempted to reach Europe tried to cross the Mediterranean or Atlantic from Morocco. In the same period, 7,100 Moroccans attempted to cross to Spain, according to official Spanish sources.
Humans are born equal
“Article 1” by “C5 A” students of La Ribambelle school in Casablanca touches upon gender equality. The film refers to Article 1 of the Moroccan 2011 Constitution.
The article reads: “Morocco is a constitutional, democratic, parliamentary and social Monarchy.”
The film shows six children, three boys and three girls, at a classroom arguing in French about one line “All humans are born equal in rights.”
In French, the word “homme” stands for both “human” and “man,” which becomes the center of their argument. One of the girls interrupted and ended the argument by reading from a dictionary that “homme” stands for “male or female” and went on to explain about how both sexes are equal.
Article 19 of the Moroccan Constitution stress that “the man and the woman enjoy, in equality, the rights and freedoms of civil, political, economic, social, cultural and environmental character.”
For years, women around the world have been working to achieve gender equality and eliminate gender-based violence.
In September, the Moroccan government passed Law 103-13 to eliminate violence against women, sexual harassment, and gender-based discrimination.
The law promises prison sentences ranging from one to six months for people who sexually harass women in public spaces. Harassment is defined as the use of words, acts, or signals of a sexual nature for sexual purposes.
It remains to be seen whether Morocco will bring a law that protects sexual minorities in the future.
The mobile phone festival was organized in partnership with the United Nations, Youtube, and the European Union, under the patronage of French President Emmanuel Macron.
Since 2005, the Mobile Film Festival has promoted young talents in the international competition requiring “ 1 mobile – 1 minute – 1 film.”