Yasmine Benkiran talks about her first feature film

Malikates ” Where “ queens ” or ” Queens is the first feature film by Franco-Moroccan director and screenwriter Yasmine Benkiran. Screened on Sunday, November 13 during the ” Special screenings » of the 19e edition of the Marrakech International Film Festival, Malikates moved, and also made laugh, the public who came en masse to discover the film at the Palais des Congrès in Marrakech.

Photo: Mounir Mehimdate

Yasmine Benkiran’s first feature film tells the story of three women, two adults and a child, pursued by the police. And this is where the start of a long run begins for the protagonists, played by Nisrin Erradi, Nisrine Benchara and Rayhan Guaran, who will cross the Atlas, its red rocks, its valleys in bloom and finally reach the deep South. and the Atlantic.

As part of the 19e edition of the FIFM, Yasmine Benkiran confided in Hespress UK on his first feature film, Malikates », the Atlas workshops and how this adventure started, which you will be able to discover on the big screen in 2023.

Hespress Fr: The FIFM returns after two years of COVID. How did you experience this period as a director?

Yasmine Benkiran: Wrong. The covid has been complicated as for everyone, but particularly for the cinema. It’s true that it accelerated something that was in progress, which is that the platforms took up a lot of space and we lost the room.

And I think that cinema is a collective experience. That is to say, when we make a film, we make it together, and when we watch a film, I like the idea of ​​telling myself that I’m watching it as a team, I’m watching it with the audience movie theater. And what is strong is that we feel the same emotions, and our emotions, we share them. We all feel the same emotions at the same time, something that is priceless. That’s why we love cinema. And it’s true that the covid did not do this experience any good.

Hespress UK

Hespress Fr: “ Malikates is your first feature film. It was presented at the Venice Film Festival and today it will be presented at the FIFM. What was the starting point of this project?

Yasmine Benkiran: “Malikates” at the very base, there was the desire to create Moroccan heroines, as in Greek mythology. That is to say, they go on an adventure. It’s true that this heroine figure has been taken up a lot by Anglo-Saxon cinema, and we haven’t taken hold of it. I wanted to capture that figure, on the one hand. On the other hand, there was the desire to create a film that crossed genres. Malikates is an adventure film that also borrows from action cinema, which borrows from absurd comedy and the poetry of fantasy. I think that there were these two desires at the origin of Malikates, crossed with that of filming a truck.

I traveled a lot when I was little. We see all the Moroccan trucks on the road. And for me, there was something very cinematic about them. And there is something very interesting with trucks, it is very powerful, and at the same time, it is fragile a truck.

And I liked the idea of ​​my characters growing in power behind the wheel of this vehicle, which is both very powerful and very fragile.

Photo: Mounir Mehimdate

Hespress Fr: Many directors say that it is difficult to go from directing a short film to a feature film. How was this transition for you?

Yasmine Benkiran 😀difficult. There was very, very long writing, very long financing and very complicated filming. It’s a lot of work. Things happened little by little, they weren’t done all at once. It was done in 6 years. There were almost 2 years of writing, 2 to 3 years of financing, there was the covid so the shooting was postponed. Malikates took 6 years to do. So yes, it’s difficult to go from short to feature film. But it’s for the best, I think. It’s incredible learning.

Hespress Fr: The project was partly developed in the Ateliers de l’Atlas in 2018. Can you tell us about the contribution of these workshops?

Yasmine Benkiran: Les Ateliers de l’Atlas is the first time I have shown the script to the world. We were working on the script, I had my friends read it, especially my producer, we were moving forward and suddenly the script was shown to people who looked at it differently.

I think it opens some windows, and it really allows the film to move forward and grow. I think that the workshops allowed the film to grow and suddenly it’s great to see that it is today at the festival and that there is this continuity that is woven between the Ateliers de l’atlas and the Festival from Marrakesh.

Hespress Fr: When will the public be able to discover “Malikates” in cinemas?

Yasmine Benkiran: In 2023 the public will be able to discover the film on the big screen.

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