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Spring Grants 2019 - Development Stage
Current project status: DEVELOPMENT

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


Fatma and her two daughters Najeh and Waffeh, live in the neighbourhood of Bir Beranek in Mahdia, Tunisia. They are “machtat”, wedding musicians. During the summer they go from one wedding to another to celebrate and bless the union of young women. When this period is over, they return to their work in the fields. Every morning they have to carry rates of potatoes and weed or glean tomatoes and peppers. Money runs out and work is tough. Najeh and Waffeh follow opposite paths. Najeh, divorced for 12 years, is looking for a new husband to escape the authority of her brothers. Waffeh wishes to divorce from her violent husband but doesn’t know where to go with her four children. And Fatma navigates between the two, praying that things will get better and that she can retire one day. Above all, the “machtat” never stop singing. Music is what keeps them standing, what fills them with life and what gets them out of their social status, at least for the summer.


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. During her second master’s degree, at University Pantheon-Sorbonne, she directed two short documentaries, 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’, produced by Madeline Robert and Charlotte Grosse for Les films de la Caravane. ‘Maktoub’ was selected in numerous festivals, including Etats generaux du film documentaire of Lussas, Djerba Doc Days - Grand Jury Prize (Tunisia), Arab Film Festival (USA), Zagora Film Festival - Special Distinction from Jury (Morocco), International Documentary Festival of Khouribga - Grand Jury Prize (Morocco) ‘Machtat’ is her second feature documentary.

Production Company Profile

Khamsin Films was founded in 2017 with the aim of facilitating the production of films from the Arab World by supporting 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 ongoing projects from the region including ‘The River’, the newest feature fiction film of Ghassan Salhab, (in post-production) and co-produced with the Postoffice (Lebanon) and Unafilm (Germany), ‘Machtat’, the second feature documentary of Sonia Ben Slama, (in development), coproduced with Alter Ego Production (France) and ‘Heim’, a TV series by Mohammad Abou Laban and Liwaa Yazji (in development).


  • Main Contact

    Tania El Khoury

    Khamsin Films

  • Production Company

    Khamsin Films


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