Nabil Ayouch
Nabil Ayouch

About Nabil Ayouch

Nabil Ayouch was born in Paris, on April 1, 1969. He now works and lives in Casablanca.

In 1997, Nabil Ayouch directed his first feature film MEKTOUB which, like ALI ZOUA (2000), represented Morocco at the Oscars. Next came UNE MINUTE DE SOLEIL EN MOINS (2003) and WHATEVER LOLA WANTS (2008), produced by Pathé. His first short film, in 1992, THE BLUE ROCKS OF THE DESERT marked the discovery of Jamel Debouzze. In 2009, he created and directed the closing show of the World Economic Forum of Davos after having directed several live shows such as the opening of "Temps du Maroc" in France at the Palace of Versaillles in 1999.

In 1999, Nabil Ayouch founded Ali n'Productions, a company through which he helps young directors launch their careers thanks to initiatives such as the Mohammad Reggab Award — a script and production competition for short films in 35mm. Between 2005 and 2010, he produced forty genre films in the framework of the Film Industry.

In 2006, he launched the Meda Films Development program with the support of the European Union and the International Film Festival Foundation of Marrakech — a structure to accompany producers and scriptwriters from the ten countries on the south shore of the Mediterranean in the development phase of their films.

Nabil Ayouch founded the G.A.R.P. (Group of Authors, Directors, Producers) in 2002 and the Moroccan Coalition for Cultural Diversity in 2003. In 2008, he participated in the creation of the Moroccan Anti-Piracy Association, of which he is president.

In 2011, he released his first documentary feature film MY LAND which was filmed in the Middle East.

In 2012, Nabil Ayouch finished HORSES OF GOD, inspired by the Casablanca suicide bombings of May 16th, 2003.

Director's Statement

I am very familiar with the shantytown of Sidi Moumen, as I shot some documentary films there since the end of the 90s. On May 16th, 2003, when five bombs exploded in the center of Casablanca, it was a terrible shock for the whole of the Moroccan people. A Jewish cultural circle and cemetery, an Italian restaurant, a Spanish restaurant and a high-end hotel. The suicide bombers had decided to touch that which makes the heart of Moroccan identity: 2,000 years of history based on tolerance and on the mixture of races and religions.

In the days that followed, I learnt that these suicide bombers all came from that famous slum of Sidi Moumen, which I knew inside out, and were for the most kids of about twenty; uneducated, abandoned by the state and cut off from the rest of society. I decided to return to Sidi Moumen and begin the long process of listening to this forgotten youth, in collaboration with the local associations. I especially decided to build step by step the foundations of a film that goes beyond the barbaric act that these suicide attacks represent. Violence is not a show, violence does not come from nowhere; it has an origin. "Horses of God" goes back to the roots of this violence and shows us, without judging, how 10-year-old children lost their humanity and were transformed into human bombs. More than ever, it seems to me important today that the American audience hears another voice on a phenomenon as sensitive as terrorism.