The Mokhtar Awards Festival is an international short films festival that has been taking place since 2013, the year the festival was created.
Born in the worrying context in which huge tensions surround the question of Islam and the Muslim minorities in France and worldwide, the Mokhtar Awards aims to initiate the rise of a cinema form which is reinvented, at the crossroads between political commitment and spirituality. Resolutely inclusive and independent, the Mokhtar Awards focuses on nurturing a new artistic impulse within the marginalised communities, made invisible by the blinding establishment spotlights.
Passionate about cinema, we are convinced that it possesses within itself the seeds of peace and mutual recognition. Our work consists in allowing the expression of new perspectives and new voices originating from within the minorities themselves, of whom the cultural references are too often depreciated. We want to facilitate the development and the exposure of personal stories and of popular (or unknown) narratives, underrepresented in mainstream media and in cinema.
More than everything, the Mokhtar Awards Festival is an open forum of film production and experimentation, at the centre of an ongoing and vibrant discussion around the questions of ethics and aesthetics of the image and of cinema. In other words, cinema in itself is also our battle. We think that art is not only a weapon or a medium: rethinking other, new ways to make films equally represents an end in itself and an important issue. We’re striving to make films differently using other perspectives and through various experiences, exploring thereby traditional creative processes as well as alternative approaches.
For the Mokhtar Awards’ team the Festival’s purpose is to bring about cinematic testaments, short and sensible, articulated from within and from memories, whispered or using a megaphone. It is all about supporting sincere and authentic pieces, created at the first person or collectively, films guided by positive inner work aimed at redefining new lines of meanings. This is nothing less than an attempt to contribute freely and peacefully to another vision of the world, using the poetic approach inherent to cinema, which is in our view able to open new possibilities.
The Festival hasn’t for sole purpose the mere screening of films however: the cultural event aspires to bring about openness and interactions, discovery and discussions. We like to generate thought-provoking and necessary confrontations between different perspectives and positions from participants within and outside the film industry.
Through the introduction of comprehensive filmmaking workshops at the Mokhtar Academy all year long besides the annual event, the Mokhtar Awards initiative equally pursues the professionalization of each and everyone, and hopes to inspire, stimulate and identify upcoming talents.
As such our work involves supporting new and experienced filmmakers and to provide the essential tools of knowledge and know-how in order to take ownership of and engage with the art of cinema in all its dimensions. Our goal is to help articulate original stories and celebrate unique point of views from artists often proud to have a spiritual look at the world around us
The Mokhtar Awards Festival has always been boldly diverse and international as much as in its jury membership as well as in its programming: the Mokhtar event is open and accessible to everyone, without condition, and is far removed from an elitist and corporatist conception of the 7th art.
The Festival champions international cinemas: filmmakers from all over the world, famous or not, are constantly highlighted and honored as part of the Festival and in the filmmaking workshops of the Mokhtar Academy. The objective is nothing else than opening doors and building a resistance that is grassroots and more widely collective.
In the context of national and international downturns and ideological entrenchments, our challenge is immense: it entails the re-appropriation of cinema in order to make it an artistic tool for openness, dialogue and in-depth reflections within the Muslim minorities and beyond, and with this to help everyone find (again) his or her place in the wider community and in the Universe.