Izza Genini: Moroccannes at its finest

Izza Genini is one of the most famous and important names in the history of documentary production, directing and distribution in Morocco and the North African region. She is a Moroccan Jewess who was born in Casablanca in 1942. She spent her childhood and part of her adolescence in her country of origin, before leaving with her parents for France at the age of 17. There, she studied at the National Institute of Oriental Languages and Civilizations to become a translator, but she specialized in documentary film and was intrigued by it. It became for her a way of perpetuating the authentic Moroccan Jewish memory, whether through the stories of personalities telling of lived experiences or by highlighting the Moroccan musical heritage.

Her relationship with film goes back to the early 1970s, when she returned to Morocco and discovered the richness of her country’s culture. It was his great friend Tayeb Seddiki who encouraged her to go down this path. The latter participated in the production of her film “Zeft”.

She also contributed to the production of Souheil Benbarka’s “Mille et une mains”, but her name will be more closely associated with Ahmed Maanouni’s film “El Hal”, for which she produced. Tracing the experience of the legendary Nass El Ghiwane group, this film caught the interest of director Martin Scorsese, who will support its restoration. She also produced the film “Alyam Alyam” by the same Maanouni.

The stories of Moroccan Jews were also featured prominently in her film production, notably in her film “Ouled Moumen”, which speaks of displacement, pain and nostalgia, and shows how much this director is passionate about Moroccanity.

Genini was also interested in the rich Moroccan musical culture. Thus, she paid particular attention to the various musical expressions, particularly in “Le Maroc corps et âme”, a series that she wrote, produced and released, in which she highlighted the heritage of Al-Aita, Le Malhoun, Al Ala, Ahwach, Ahidous and Gnaoua

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