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Spring Grants 2019 - Development Stage
Current project status: DEVELOPMENT

Sonia Ben Slama / Feature Documentary / France, Lebanon, Qatar / 70 min / Original Language: Arabic / Interests: Creative Documentary


Mahdia, Tunisia. In the neighbourhood of Bir Beranek, everybody knows each other. Fatma, her two daughters, her sister and her cousin, are the “machtat” of Fatma and Habiba’s band. They are wedding musicians who, especially during summer, go from one wedding to the other to celebrate and bless the union of young women and prepare them for their new life as a wife. Nonetheless, their own marriage stories are unfortunate; they are all divorced or widowed, except for one of Fatma’s daughters whose husband makes her life a living hell. Even when their husbands are not around, there is always a man to take over the authority whether he’s a brother, a son, an uncle or a boss. When summer is over, the “machtat” return to the farms, leave their music instruments and put their working clothes back on. Money runs out, work is tough, women go to the fields every morning to carry crates of potatoes and weed by hand or pick tomatoes and peppers. When the evening comes, they watch Turkish soap operas about incredible adventures of chaste but passionate loves. Then the next day starts and is no different from any other day.


Sonia Ben Slama
Sonia Ben Slama
Tania El Khoury, Cécile Lestrade, Elise Hug

About the Director

Sonia Ben Slama is a Tunisian­-French documentary filmmaker, born in 1985. She grew up in Paris where she studied Art and Cinema at University Paris 3-Sorbonne-Nouvelle. For her Master’s degree, she chose to focus on gender questions and women’s representation in classic tales and modern teen-movies. During her second Master’s degree, at University Panthéon-Sorbonne, she directed two short documentaries, ‘Blind Look’ and ‘Histoires du Beuvray’, produced by Serge Lalou for Les Films d’Ici and Catherine Derosier-Pouchou for the Louvre museum. In 2015, she directed her first feature
documentary ‘Maktoub’ (‘Tout est écrit’), produced by Charlotte Grosse and Madeline Robert for Les Films de la Caravane. ‘Machtat’ is her second feature documentary.

Production Company Profile

Khamsin Films was created in 2017 with the aim of facilitating the production of films from the Arab World. They support both emerging talents and established filmmakers with a strong artistic, visual and cinematographic language to tell their stories in films aimed for local and international audiences. The company has several projects ongoing from the region including the new feature film of Ghassan Salhab, 'The River', (in post-production) co-produced with the postoffice (Lebanon), Survivance (France) and Unafilm (Germany); the short documentary 'The Vein of Life' by Fadi Idris (in post-production) co-produced with Caractères Productions (France), and the second feature documentary of Sonia Ben Slama, 'Machtat' (in development) co-produced with Alter Ego Production (France). Khamsin Films is also producing the first film of Romy Coccia di Ferro, 'A family Affair' (in development) and the TV series 'Heim' by Mohammad Abou Laban and Liwaa Yazji (in development).


  • Main Contact

    Tania El Khoury

    Khamsin Films

  • Production Company

    Khamsin Films

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