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Spring Grants 2017

Meryem Benm’Barek / Feature Narrative / Morocco, France, Qatar / 2018 / 80 min / Original Language: Arabic, French / Interests: Drama, Social Issues, Women Issues


Sofia lives with her parents in Casablanca. Suffering from pregnancy denial, she finds herself breaking the law by giving birth to a baby out of wedlock. The hospital gives her 24 hours to provide them with the identification papers belonging to the father of the child before they will be forced to inform the authorities. Aided by her cousin Lena, the pair embark on a desperate attempt to locate the father and convince him to acknowledge the child. When Sofia’s parents become involved, an uneasy agreement is reached with Omar, the suspected father, and his mother, deftly illustrating the class division between the two families.

The feature debut from Morocco-born, Belgium-educated Meryem Benm’Barek is a delicate portrait of contemporary Moroccan society. Expertly cast, Sofia (Maha Alemi), and her cousin Lena (Sarah Perles) give compelling performances that perfectly embody the two faces of modern Morocco— one traditional and reticent, the other outspoken and idealistic. Winner of the best screenplay prize in Cannes’ Un Certain Regard section last year, ‘Sofia’ is a nuanced yet powerful study of feminism and the double standards that face women in a largely patriarchal culture.


Meryem Benm’Barek
Meryem Benm’Barek
Olivier Delbosc
Executive Producer
Christine De Jekel and Saïd Hamich
Production Company
Curiosa Films
Production Company
Curiosa Films

About the Director

Meryem Benm’Barek was born in 1984 in Rabat. She studied Arabic Languages and Civilisations at the National Institute of Oriental Languages and Civilizations in Paris before entering the directing department at INSAS in Brussels in 2010. There, she directed five short films, notably ‘Nor’ (2013) and ‘Jennah’ (2014), which was selected for numerous international film festivals, and was considered for submission for an Academy Award in 2015. She also creates sound design art and has had regular exhibitions at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. She is currently finalizing her first feature-length film, ‘Sofia’.

Awards and Festival History


"Fameck Arab FF 2018
Busan IFF 2018
Festival des Cinémas d'Afrique du Pays d'Apt 2018 (France)
Fameck Arab FF 2018
Mostra de Sao Paulo 2018
Marrakech IFF 2018
Bergen IFF 2019
Bratislava IFF 2019
Cairo IFF 2018
Philadelphia FF 2018
Sao Paulo IFF 2018


"Best Screenplay, Festival de Cannes 2018, Un Certain Regard
Special Mention, TV5 Monde Award and Taher Cheriaam Award, Carthage FF 2018
New Voices/New Visions Grand Jury Prize, Palm Springs IFF 2019
FIPRESCI Prize, Thessaloniki FF 2018
Young Film Critic


  • Main Contact

    Lisa Verhaverbeke

    Curiosa Films
    +33 1 55 34 98 08

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