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Marrakech Film Festival

Marrakesh, Morocco: Bobby Setzer

A spectacular opening ceremony will kick off the second edition of the International Film Festival of Marrakech on September 18. The first festival was held in 2000, but because of the events of September 11, 2001, last year's edition was cancelled.

Two giants of American cinema, David Lynch and Francis Ford Coppola, will be presented with awards signifying special recognition during the opening ceremony. Accepting a special award for the ground-breaking quality of the film, Lagaan, will be its noted producer/star Aamir Khan.

The ceremony will be held in the El Badii Palace, a 16th Century Saadian masterpiece. Directing the ceremony will be Renaud Le Van Kim, renowned for his work on the opening and closing ceremonies at the Cannes Film Festival.

French film star Jeanne Moreau and famed Tunisian director Moufida Tlatli head the jury selecting the prize films.

According to Festival President Daniel Toscan Du Planter, the ten films competing for the grand prize are an excellent sampling of the free-spirited films being produced around the world today as a result of the trailblazing works of the American cinema. 

This edition of the festival opens a window on Asia and the cinema of the south. It also glances at Hollywood, and shows that Morocco is committed to modernity, dialogue, and cultural exchange.

The films in competition will be shown in three theaters, the Cinema Colisee, the Rif, and the Saada.  Films will also be shown to a large audience in front of the El Badii Palace in the Jemaa El Fna, a large public square designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

There are also at least 14 shorter underground films in competition at the Festival.

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