[MOROCCO] Documentary: “The Land Between”

David Fedele has completed three films about various human rights issues around the world. Most recently, David spent eight months in Morocco shooting “THE LAND BETWEEN”, a film following the daily lives of Sub-Saharan migrants living in the Gourougou forest in the north of Morocco.

The film explores both the literal and figurative land and life between Morocco and Europe. The documentary deal with the human right’s abuses that Sub-Saharan migrants suffer at the hands of both Moroccan and Spanish authorities.

As reported in an interview of a Moroccan magazine, the director David Fedele said:

“My main interest in making The Land Between was from a pure human rights and humanitarian perspective, and a personal interest in migration issues. I had wanted to make a film about migration for some time now, and had spent time in Europe listening to the stories that migrants would tell me about their journeys. I considered making a film in Europe based on these stories, but then decided that it would be more powerful and “real” to document their lives and journeys before they arrived in Europe.

So I started to do some research online and discovered the situation in Morocco, and in particular the Gourougou mountains in northern Morocco where thousands of Sub-Saharan African migrants are living, waiting for an opportunity to jump the barrier into Melilla.

For me, this film is not just about Morocco and Spain. It is a universal story about migration, which could be told in numerous places around the world. It explores general themes of migration, and the question of how and why people are prepared to risk everything, including their life, to leave their country, their family and friends, in search of a new and better life.

Of course within that, there is a very particular human rights story and issue that the film is about, which concerns the violence and mistreatment of migrants by both the Moroccan and Spanish authorities. But I didn’t want just to focus on this. Instead I attempted to show the daily life of the migrants, living with dignity in these terrible conditions. I wanted to “humanize” the story, and allow the migrants to tell their own story”.

The documentary has already been screened in Morocco at community screenings in Tangier and Rabat, and in Casablanca at Festival de Resistance et d’Alternatives. Outside of Morocco, the film has already been screened numerous times throughout Europe. It had its International Film Festival premiere in Paris at the FIFE Festival International du Film d’environnement, where it was awarded the prize for   “BEST FEATURE-LENGTH DOCUMENTARY” and in Brussels at the Millenium Documentary Film Festival.

“The reaction from Moroccans – said David – has been extremely positive. I don’t think that a lot of Moroccans really understand the terrible conditions that a lot of the Sub-Saharan migrants have to endure in Morocco, and the violent way that they are treated by both the Moroccan and Spanish authorities. I think that the film has the potential to open the eyes of a lot of people within Morocco, and expose them to an issue in their own country that perhaps they are not so familiar with.

The reality is that the only reason that Morocco is treating migrants in this way is that they are being encouraged and paid by Europe to control the borders and regulate migration, to ensure that migrants don’t arrive in Europe, so the issue is dealt with on the African continent, rather than Europe. It is purely a political issue – the actions of the Moroccan authorities do not represent the views and beliefs of the general Moroccan population”.

David had also been able to show the film to various people at the European Commission. After much persistence, David attended a meeting with the Migration and Asylum section of the European Commission, who have watched the film and want to discuss it further. “Fingers crossed that we may be able to organize an official screening to the European Union” wrote David in the Facebook page of The Land Between.

Here is some dialogue from the film, from a Sub-Saharan African migrant that has just been beaten by the Moroccan military, while trying to cross into Melilla, Spain:

“You must tell the European Union. They pay the Moroccans to guard the border, but the Moroccans took this to have a war. We are not armed with we go to the border to climb the fence. We go to the fence to leave and to search for life. Please, you must do something”

Find more info about the film and Watch the trailer in french or spanish here: www.thelandbetweenfilm.com 

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