24 September 2013


View this movie at cultureunplugged.com

25 August 2012

Official Selection@ the first edition of The Biennale Internationale de Casablanca 2012

Simo Ezoubeiri

Né à Marrakech en 1978 Vit et travaille à Chicago

Simo Ezoubeiri est attiré depuis toujours par la vidéo, “Dieu merci, un médium désormais reconnu au sein de l’art contemporain” aime-il à souligner. Après une première formation et plusieurs expériences au Maroc, il vit actuellement à Chicago où il poursuit des études de cinéma. Son sujet de prédilection : la vie quotidienne, une apparente simplicité qu’il nous invite à regarder autrement afin d’en percevoir toute la symbolique. Sa muse : Marrakech, la ville où il est né et où vivent sa famille et ses amis. Rencontre avec un artiste à suivre qui nous commente deux de ses réalisations, à visualiser sur internet. Son travail est régulièrement présenté dans des festivals internationaux tels que MerginArts Production Short Short Short Film Festival, New England aux USA, plusieurs éditions du FIAV, Vidéo Attitudes à Amiens. En 2008, il reçoit le prix du meilleur court-métrage à Dubaï Shoof TV, ainsi que «Second Place Award» à City-Wide Film School Showcase présenté par Chicago Filmmakers.


Principales participations

2010 . 1ère Edition de Marrakech Art Fair
2010 . 32ème Festival du Film de Montpellier
2010 . 1ères Rencontres d’Art Actuel . El Jadida
2010 . Viral Award pour Flood of life in Marrakech . Culture Unplugged Film Festival . San Francisco
2010 . 4ème édition du Thessaloniki Short Film Festival . Grèce
2009 . 22ème édition Instants vidéo . Festival international d’art vidéo . Marseille
2009 . 10ème édition du Festival méditerranéen du film de Siroki Brijeg, Bosnie
2009 . Chicago Filmmakers and Film Culture . Chicago, Illinois
2009 . 1er Zero Filme . Portugal
2009 . Work from Four Continents and Virtual Second Life . Santa Fe, New Mexico
2009 . 1ère édition de Talking Pictures Film Festival . Evanston
2008 . Optica Madrid International Video Art Festival . Madrid
2008 . Pop Corn . Deuxième prix du Chicago Filmmakers and Film Culture) . Chicago, Illinois
2008 . Prix du meilleur court-métrage . Dubaï Shoof TV


19 August 2012

I've been very fortunate to work in some short films and capture some of behind scenes of the making- These films are directed by some (Grad/Undergrad) Columbia College Chicago students : Linda Ajeti, Jordan Grutzius, Caleb Thomas and Hassan Amejal

“The Intouchables”: Hymn to platonic friendship!

“The Intouchables”: Hymn to platonic friendship!

Simo Ezoubeiri
Monday, August 13th 2012

“The Intouchables” by co-filmmakers Olivier Nakache and Éric Toledano has touched my heart and left me with a warm smile and an umbrella of thoughts. The film has started with a similar scene as in Ramin Bahrani’s “Goodbye Solo”; a full of life African man and a white man driving in a car by night. Before even I jumped into the film to figure out its “point d’attaque’” for the first fifteen minutes, I already sensed I am front of two monument actors and a great cinematography with a lot of precision and craft.

“The Intouchables”: Hymn to platonic friendship!
Before watching “The Intouchables,” I stumbled upon a great quote by acclaimed Indian filmmaker, Shekar Kapur, saying, “We are the stories we tell ourselves.” I personally find it a good fit for our current film review. In other words, it’s a deep way to escape from our intellect and let our imagination take the charge. Then, a compiling story will eventually see the light. By saying that, we genuinely illustrate the spirit of “the untouchables” and especially the choice made by the aristocrat (François Cluzet) when he hires a young man from the projects (Omar Sy) to be his caretaker. As a result, the film breaks the stereotypes that most of us has already established or may reconsider to establish in the future by over looking at the power balance between poor and rich people. It’s relative to be rich and handicapped in this context. The film let you think about why people still get hung up on being poor, when it is the absolute normal thing in the world. We have to meditate our preconceived ideas and poor judgment skills! The duo of the film has reached new personal milestones of true meanings of friendship. The moral lesson was meaningful to me at this time; either we suffer or fail to see humanity and goodness. 

The movie is based on a true story, makes more seemingly direct tributes. Driss cares about Phillipes’ life just like Solo does for William in “Goodbye Solo”- he even brought attention to his teenager daughter’s ill-manners, and then influenced him to talk to her directly. Philippe’s story can be also illustrated by his quest of friendship and romantic love with a woman. At this point, the film has brought the theme of epistolary letters to life by the way Philippe was communicating with a woman. I felt this part of the film was referring to “Les Laisons Dangereuse” by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos only in the simple method of exchanging love letters between a man and a woman. 

The film failed to answer why Driss didn’t care to help his family. Instead, the focus of the film was literally about Driss’s charisma and charm and of course when you have a talented actor like (Omar Sy) or (Souleymane Sy Savane) you are only expecting great performances like in “Goodbye Solo” or “The Intouchables”. Both films are unforgettable and have similar spirits of great writing, natural performances, and gems of filmmaking. Game Over! 


07 May 2012

Gamers’ minds behind new grossing films!

Simo Ezoubeiri
Saturday, May 5th 2012

A month ago, I discovered the mysteries of Panem while watching “ The Hunger Games.” The film has its set up in a futuristic flash-forward style by engaging youngsters in a reality TV show mastered by a repressive fictional government. They randomly selected few children to fight in an annual bloody rendezvous. That said, I still didn’t get the moral lesson behind the flick.

Games’ minds behind new grossing films!
Few weeks ago, “the Cabin in the Wood” pleasantly surprised me. It was pretty damn scary. I lately didn’t bother to see new horror films until the most awaited “ the Dark Shadows” by Tim Burton will hit the silver screens on my birthday’s week, but I think “ the Cabin in the Wood” was getting really good reviews, so I took a chance. It was quiet good- a lot of tense moments to further the plot, and really scary scenes before the denouement. The scenes inside the government lab were similar to a blender machine of making smoothie out of humans and weird creatures. I was crouched so low in my seat; I felt I was next to the floor. I hope there will be a second part because I will be looking to enjoy the pothead character of Franz Kranz (Marty). That said, there are few scenes that are simply borrowed from “ Evil Dead” by Sam Raimi. The film has also adopted Tarantino’s famous formula by paying homage to some influential films from Japan. By saying that, I will never mind to go back and watch the next commercial by Joss whedon and Drew Goddar. However, they need a prudent script-girl to avoid last minute gashing mistake that take away your chances to be considered for an Oscar. Seriously, there was a sequence of Marty when he lights a “white” joint in scene A, and then the joint has turned slightly grey and darker in scene B. there was no ellipse of time to justify the latter. Don’t get me wrong, we still understand cinema as continuity of ideas and logical camera moves and positions.

The story of the film is a true mise-en- abime. It just reminds me of how to write a novella where a “character awakens from a dream and later discovers that he or she is still dreaming.” This might trigger our memories to think of “ Inception” or “ Enter the Void”, but I guess it’s okay to feel privileged as a know-it all moviegoer. Game Over. 

11 February 2012

Interview with Brittany Clemens www.catslikescotch.com

Simo Ezoubeiri, Filmmaker

Posted by: catslikescotch    Tags:      Posted date:  February 9, 2012

“There is no right or wrong way to do a scene-the method is what works for you.” -Shah Rukh Khan.
That’s an apt quote Moroccan filmmaker Simo Ezoubeiri cited when I sat down with him a few weeks ago to discuss his current project, “Cul-de-Sac”, as well as his creative process. “Cul-de-Sac” is a short film that Simo began over a year ago with close friend, Caleb Thomas. The premise came to the duo while shooting a few scenes one late Chicago night and has continued to reveal itself, though remains entirely unscripted. “I didn’t have a clear idea or a strong plot, but I only had a clear concept and vision of what I was going to make…Today it is snowing,” Simo said looking out the window, “so maybe I’ll shoot some scenes in the snow.” This unconventional method seems to be working for him, as the unfinished film is already drawing the attention of filmmakers and critics alike.
All of Simo’s films and photographs contain an aura of mystery, weaving a delicate thread that leaves each piece to stand out on its own, whilst simultaneously baring the mark of the artist. This commonality may suggest that he is drawing his inspiration from a singular source, but that’s not so. Giving his thoughts on artistry, Simo said, “I wake up in the morning by believing that anything that comes across my way should have an influence or impact. Sometimes some of these influences turn as new inspiration for a photograph, film or an article. Example: [the vision for] “Cul-de-Sac” was born when I had to write a paper about the photography of the legendary Steve Schapiro for an art class. I watched a program on behind the scenes of “Taxi Driver” on BBC, and I was taken by the gritty look of Schapiro’s exposures. The photographs stayed with me for a while and didn’t leave my imagination for even a fraction of second.” This style of allowing each day to bring a new creative awakening is made apparent in Simo’s earlier films, particularly “The Daily Show”, which contains three segments documenting the commonplace activities in his native Morocco by providing a new perspective on each.
While his approach may be unorthodox, it is clear that Simo refuses to compromise his artistic vision by acting in haste: “I’ve been always very patient with the process of any project I work on. From my perspective, each development has its own rhythm and beat. Beside a clear vision of what I want to achieve at the end, there was always an implicit out put I looked for. Maybe something authentic, I still don’t know even though I am always interested to find out whether people like a project or not. It is true I have become more conscious that each creativity process is imposing its rhythm and pace on me.”Simo has achieved recognition throughout the world for his distinguishable style and rightfully so, but as we parted ways that afternoon, he left me with the best advice ever given to him, “There was this French lady…she was a teacher at the university and she told us, ‘Remember, that you guys are working with sensitive images and sounds’ … I think it’s a way of living too… That’s the advice I was given, that I have to treat sounds and images with care.”
To view Simo’s short films as well as keep up to date on his projects, please visit his blog.

Interview with North Africa United.

Simo Ezoubeiri : The Image in the Service of Art

Wednesday February 8, 2012

Simo Ezoubeiri lives and works in the USA , he was born and grew up in Marrakech and has received wide acclaim for his portrail of artistic themes on video particularly his portrayals of the Marrakech he knows and loves. He talks to North Africa United about Marrakech and the future of cinema.

Simo Ezoubeiri : The Image in the Service of Art
NAU:     What is the artistic vision you are expressing in “Inner Marrakech.” 

Mohammed Ezoubeiri:  “Inner Marrakech” is a subjective regard about my native city of Marrakech. I have so much love, respect and penchant toward the city, so making a project based on these inner feelings was a true pleasure. From the beginning, I had a descent plan to make a visual film about the city that inspires painting and design. This project was a new item on my bucket list since the first time I watched“ What Dreams May come” directed by Vincent Ward. I tried to capture the vivid colors of Marrakech, the daily life imagery that is based on natural/urban scenery. All was put together in a compressed low frame rate below 2fps to create a stop-motion look with a painting approach. The difference between Vincent Ward’s film and my modest visual is that the movie is depicting an imaginative world. However, Inner Marrakech is depicting real life, real light, and real people in an extravaganza of visual vistas. 

Q:  Are digital and 3D the future of cinema? 

A: I think the future of cinema is making good films and telling compelling stories. 3D was considered as a new format that only helped to bring moviegoers back to the theatre and keep them away from TV screens. There are few exceptions that applied 3D as part of the storytelling process such as the case of Martin Scorsese’ Hugo. 3D still remains as the new cinema savior in certain cases such as of the Indian super flick Ra.One by Abhinav Sinha. In short, it is not defined yet if 3D or Digital are going to be “the future of cinema.” 

Q : Does the fusion of styles- artistic and documentary offer more creative opportunities? 

A:  I agree with you. Audiences are always intrigued by new filmmaking techniques and styles. The more creative the market of software become, the more artists are involved to try new films such as Inception, Avatar and Hugo. However, documentaries required more realism and preparation for their artistic approaches. Basically, all what you need is a good topic, interesting location(s), and people in one/various situations (Bad/Good) 

The possibility to add a voice over or commentary is accurate. I remember when I watched “My Architect”, a documentary about a “man who searches to know the hidden heart of his father Louis I, Kahn.” in this documentary, the voice over/commentary were well applied to bring Nathanaiel Kahn’s vision into life. Another example I personally consider as brilliant and authentic is Kevin Macdonald’s “Life in a Day.” in this crowd sourced documentary film, we learn about the life of different people from different countries and cultures in a parallel montage on a single day, July 24, 2010. According to Kevin Macdonald, “the movie is a metaphor of the experience of being on the internet… clicking on place to another, in this almost random way… following our own thoughts, narrative and thematic paths.” by saying that, the fusion of a crowd sourced film/documentary has ultimately engaged and gathered audiences world wide to share clips of various slices of life in an interesting manner. 

Q:   Marrakech is a powerful center for Moroccan contemporary art and international artists, is audiovisual a good way to reflect this? 

 A: Thanks to someone like Mr. Hicham Daoudi, chairman of Art Holding Morocco, who is leading a professional group operating the art market in Morocco, Marrakech Art Fair has become the first modern and annual contemporary Art Fair in Morocco and North Africa so far! I think Marrakech is a photogenic city with an arsenal in international cinema as well. We’ve seen the city in some international productions such as Alfred Hitchcock’s “The man who knew too much,” Gillies Mackinnon’s “ Hideous Kinky,” and Oliver Stone’s “ Alexander” when I had the chance to meet Val Kilmer in person near El- Pasha Palace of Marrakech. The ochre colored city has also benefited from the audiovisual platforms to reflect its power as the center of Moroccan contemporary art by creating festivals like Digital Marrakech or showing various videos/short films in Marrakech Mesuem, Esav or IFM. 

Q:  What is the theme of your film “Flood of Life in Marrakech?” 

 A: My city Marrakech is the theme of “Flood of life in Marrakech.” two years ago; I had a wonderful comic book as a birthday gift from a wonderful human being. When I opened the book, I fallen love with its illustrations and especially the art of Eric Drooker. Then, I decided to apply the drawing technique from still images to manipulated/moving images by working in motion graphic software. My intention was to create a non-narrative short film that inspired a rainy day in Marrakech. I was conscious that Marrakech doesn’t get often enough rain. So, exaggerating the creation of rain/flood was intent ally implied to emphasis a feeling of optimism and bright future. Water is a source of life and nature. The symbol of “flood of life” has a beautiful meaning of life, purity and awesomeness. In short, the meaning of the film depicts that the realism of the world is in between our hands but the people around us are such unknown… sometimes the world depicts life as a slow-moving turtle; and sometimes the world deceives us and plays us as fools as an illusion that is fast as lightening and is quick as the droplets of rain that turns into blinding floods. Although, everything is not as black and white as we see. The flood of life in Marrakech illustrates to us what is really perceived. 

Q: How do you feel Marrakech has changed over the years? 

A: Marrakech has an immortal ageless beauty. It is a serene, confident, beautiful, cultural, cosmopolitan, tolerant, artistic, and especially a humanistic place in the world. When a place has such characters, it is difficult to notice any changes. I am blindly in love with Marrakech!

01 February 2012

26 January 2012

“Don 2”: The Return of the King! by Simo Ezoubeiri

“Don 2” is a flick action thriller following the new adventures of Shah Rukh Khan (Don), and put together out of too many events that don’t fit smoothly together. The film lacks really a good script. However, it is moving like a turtle, but not as efficacious as it could have been. By saying that, the film’s formula has metamorphosed the “slowly-surely” notion in a concrete way.

“Don 2”: The Return of the King!
The film starts with an explanatory voice over and picks sur-le-champ where the previous remake left off. After being incognito, Don is now an international wanted villain in the Asian underworld, and has his great expectations to hit the European monetary market big time. 

The movie stars the king of Bollywood, Shah Rukh Khan, a wicked villain with corny voice, cold persona and sharp mind who was incarcerated by the police (Priyanka Chopra and Om Puri) after surrendering himself to Interpol. He was sent to a Malaysian jail where his face-to-face with his ex-rival Vardhan (Boman Irani) has triggered our memory to the climax scene of 2007 “Don-The Chase Begins.” The scenes of the prison were perfect reminders of Tahar Rahim’s quarrel with some of his inmates in the most acclaimed French film “A Prophet” masterly directed by Jacques Audiard. 

Don manages to escape the prison with his buddy Vardhan a la John Dillinger’s style in “Public Enemies”, but with a Ben Affleck’s disguise suite and hat while driving an ambulance in his directorial debut of “The Town.” In return, Don is expecting collaboration from Vardhan to rob the currency plates from Berlin. He also hired a talented hacker (Kunal Kapoor) to monitor his plans, and watch his back from his enemies. 

Well, the action therefore plays out in Thailand; Shah Rukh Khan delicately incarnated Don in  an acting tour de force, which, with barely any dialogues, relies on the beautifully choreographed stunts and close-ups on his photogenic face. The movie benefits greatly from the stylish cinematography crafted by Jason West. (Rock On) 

Tricky enough in concept alone. But it has already been spotted months ago that Shah Rukh “did the stunts himself.” The character of Don is seen like Batman jumping off a sky keeper in Berlin, 300 feet in the air. The latter was a pure Hollywoodien sequence that was set up, filmed, and edited in a déjà-vu style, but yet provided my dizziness with enthusiastic fascination. 

In short, Don 2 is a terrific thriller with breathtaking action sequences in beautiful locations (Thailand, Germany, Malaysia...) Therefore, the method of the film was a linear storytelling scheme, with shy flashbacks that introduced new viewers to previous chapters from the first remake of 2007 “Don-The Chase begins.” Some of the characters are randomly added (A-list actor Hritick Rochan) and some of them are not really developed at all such as the case of Lara Dutta’s special appearance. Her role lacks connection into Don’s world, and failed to bring new dimensions to the core message of the film. Most Bollywood films, even the blockbuster ones, fade away like haze once you return to the tangible world; they leave clichéd memories behind, but their reality weaken fairly quickly. Not in this film, this exposed once again India’s finest actor at the peak of his art. No Indian crime film has ever been about one character- not even the joker of “the Dark Knight” By Christopher Nolan, although the tow characters are not really comparable. 

We all know that Shah Rukh Khan has emerged as playing negative roles with aplomb of his generation in Baazigar, Darr, Anjaam, and Dewaana. Here, Don is an arrogant chic villain, wild dare-evil, and has a similar walk type similar to Captain Jack Sparrow. Don is stylish on the outside, yet pitiless to set an enemy on fire. To give Don 2 its due, there is an open dénouement, which is probably the adequate one; nothing is settled yet in Don’s life, and Mr. Farhan Akhtar (Director of the film) doesn’t try yet to squeeze an ultimate solution after 145 minutes. There is a lot of interesting materials here, but its unshaped and adequately grappled with. Game Over. 

29 November 2011

"Inner Marrakech" is part of the 2nd Edition of Digital Marrakech 2011

The 2nd edition of the international festival Digital Marrakech takes place from 9 until 11 December 2011 in Marrakech city, especially in its imperial part which is the old medina.
This annual event of digital and media arts, organized by Arab Media Lab, presents diverse trends and practices in the fields of digital film & video, multimedia performances, video installations, 3D projection mapping, digital cinema, films and documentaries, workshops, interdisciplinary and other components. The meeting is an interdisciplinary festival where artists from all over the world present the latest practices, research, technologies and showcase important achievements in the development of media arts practices. The aim of the festival is to explore the Moroccan events and reveal the richness and diversity of the country's culture through videos, digital films and moving images.
Participating artists:
Swel & Imad Noury, Ahmed Bouaani, Mohamed Ezoubeiri, Michelle Medina, Abdelaziz Taleb, Abdellatif Benfaidoul
Other countries:
Algeria: Zineb Sedira
Argentina: Sebastian Diaz Morales
Belgium: Jean-Michel Verbeeck
Germany: Robert Seidel, Agricola de Cologne, Sandeep Mehta, Ben Reubold, Dirk Rauscher
Jordan: Ala Younis
Lebanon: Laila Hotait, Mariam Agha
Morocco / Spain: Project FFF
Spain: Oliver Laxe
Switzerland: Jörg Brönnimann
USA: Alex Fischer & Ellis Bahl / Space vs Earth

17 March 2011

14 January 2011

Prix "Photo de la semaine" par L'association Nationale de Photoshop Professionel aux États Unis.

"Congratulations! This is NAPP's Image of the Week" 1.6.2011 - Larry Becker, Executive Director NAPP.

Photoshopuser Magazine ( March 2011)