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Marrakech Film Festival Honors Regional Female Stars for Their Significant Impact

After more than a week of critically acclaimed film screenings, celebrity sightings, and prestigious awards, the curtains of the annual Marrakech Film Festival (FIFM) closed yesterday December 7. Although the star-studded event welcomed guests from all around the world to the Moroccan city, including Hollywood, Bollywood, and regional Arab cinema, the film festival’s 18th edition paid special homage to a few of the global industry’s leading ladies. 

Academy-award winner Tilda Swinton presided over the 2019 competition jury, a role previously filled by Martin Scorcese and Francis Ford Coppola, while three other women joined as jurors: Academy-award winning British director Andrea Arnold, French director Rebecca Zlotowski, and French actress Chiara Mastroianni.   

Priyanka Chopra Jonas was awarded in front of a massive crowd in Marrakech’s old town for her outstanding contributions to cinema wearing an elegant gold sari, a few days after the Indian icon was recognized with the UNICEF Danny Kaye Humanitarian Award in New York.

“To think that my career started nearly 20 years ago is surreal,” wrote Chopra Jonas on an Instagram post. “I am honored and proud to be recognized tonight at the Marrakesh Film Festival. Thank you, truly, to everyone who came out to Jemaa el Fna Square.”

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Local Moroccan treasure Mouna Fettou, was also celebrated for her more than 30 years of success in film, receiving the tribute award from Tunisian actor Hend Sabri. “Between the FIFM and me, it’s a long love story…I have a wonderful memory of it when in 2006, I was the Mistress of Ceremonies,” Fettou said. “This year, my emotion is great to receive the tribute paid by this prestigious festival. What an honour it is to be consecrated among my peers from Morocco and abroad!”

All the actors commemorated throughout the fete were chosen for their “significant impact on our contemporary national cinema,” said HRH Prince Moulay Rachid, President of the Marrakech International Film Festival Foundation in a statement.

Joining the guest list of renowned female talent was Oscar-winning French actor Marion Cotillard, who previously served as a FIFM jury member, and British-Australian actor Naomi Watts, one of the 25 stars representing the land down under’s delegation in honor of FIFM’s tribute to Australian cinema this year. 

In addition to acknowledging strong female talent in international cinema, almost 100 movies from 34 countries were featured in the festival program, including recent blockbuster Knives Out, which opened the festival on November 29. Hollywood jack-of-all-trades Robert Redford also flew down as a special guest, receiving the Etoile d’Or lifetime achievement award. 

“After last year’s edition, which was so rich in spirit and emotion, the Marrakech International Film Festival returns, once again passionately driven by the values that inspire us: bringing together cultures and encountering other people and ideas to contribute to making the world a better place for all,” concluded the Prince.

Click through our gallery above for a look at the honorees’ and attendees’ glamorous red carpet looks.

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