31/05/2013

Abdenour Hochiche, president of the Bejaïa Film Days

"The word 'cinema' doesn't exist in the daily life of Algerians"

Algeria, Morocco

Abdenour Hochiche, president of the Bejaïa Film Days

When he represented Algeria at Morocco's Sebu-Kenitra Short Film Festival, Abdenour Hochiche, president of Bejaïa Film Days, shared his thoughts on cinema in the world and North Africa. His vision invites us to think about the future of an art that we want to see re-emerge, reports Moroccan newspaper Le Matin.

 

Given your cinematic experience, how would you assess Moroccan cinema in comparison to Algerian cinema?

In quantitative terms, it seems to me that, it is common knowledge that film production in Morocco is very dynamic with more than 20 feature films and 60, if not more, short films per year.

This is far from being the case in Algeria, which happens to produce only two or three films, knowing that this is a country that, in the past, produced great films and took part in many renowned festivals such as Venice or Cannes.

As for the qualitative aspect, I think that there are many similarities between the cinematic works we produce, which is quite normal. We come from two countries that are almost similar on the cultural, historical and traditional level, as well as the sociological level too. The topics addressed by Moroccan and Algerian cinema are similar.

We face the same problems and we have the same aspirations. I have noticed that, at the cultural level, there is huge exchange between the two countries. Many Algerian actors work in Morocco and several Moroccan festivals programme Algerian films.

What role does the Algerian cinema play in the national cultural landscape?

Unfortunately, in Algeria, cinema occupies only a very small place at the cultural level. We have large cities with more than 500,000 inhabitants such as Constantine, Annaba or Setif, which have no movie theatre.

Most people under 40 years old in several cities have never set foot in a film theatre. The only images they have of the experience are the ones they see on TV. The word 'cinema' does not exist in the daily life of Algerians.

Aside from public funding, producers no longer venture into film financing given the difficulties. It's a vicious cycle. Film development depends on mass distribution and on the presence of a large number of film theatres. There is no miracle solution. Everything depends on the type of strategy that is implemented and on its success in integrating the various stakeholders.

What can you tell us about the Bejaia Film Days to take place in June?

We are on the eve of the 11th Bejaia Film Days, which will take place from June 8 to 14. We will follow the same approach and editorial line as for the original event.

For this year, we have planned 30 films in the presence of 20 directors. We will have our traditional scriptwriting workshop for short films at the recently renovated Bejaïa’s film library.

We have compiled a programme [of] films that we want to defend and show the public. We want to keep a friendly atmosphere. The most important thing for us is to create a bridge between cinema professionals and the general public.  

 

Source: Le Matin

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