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Nabil Ayouch

Nabil Ayouch
Born (1969-04-01) 1 April 1969 (age 55)
Paris, France
Occupation(s)Film director, producer, and screenwriter
Years active1992–present
Notable workLes Pierres bleues du désert (1992)
SpouseMaryam Touzani
  • Noureddine Ayouch [fr] (father)

Nabil Ayouch (born 1 April 1969) is a Franco-Moroccan television and film director, producer, and writer. His films have screened at international film festivals including the Cannes Film Festival and Montreal World Film Festival.

Early life

Ayouch was born in 1969 in Paris, to a Moroccan father, Noureddine Ayouch [fr] and a French mother of Tunisian-Jewish descent. His brother is fellow director Hicham Ayouch. After his parents' divorce, he spent a large part of his childhood in the suburb of Sarcelles,[1][2] visiting Casablanca in the summers.[3]

Ayouch cites discovering international cinema at the local cultural centre, Forum des Cholettes, as inspiring his filmmaking career.[3]

Film career

Ayouch started his career as a scriptwriter and director with the advertising agency Euro-RSCG. In 1992, he directed Les Pierres bleues du désert, a first short film with Jamel Debbouze which tells the history of a young man convinced that there are large blue stones in the desert.

In 1993, Ayourch ended up settling in Casablanca, where he directed two short films, Hertzienne Connexion (1993) and Vendeur de silence (1994), for which he received international recognition.

In 1997, Ayouch directed his first feature film Mektoub, which represented Morocco at the Oscars. He also directed the feature films Une Minute de soleil en moins (2003) and Whatever Lola Wants (2008), produced by Pathé.[4]

In 1999, Ayouch created a production company called Ali n'Productions to aid aspiring young directors in establishing their careers.[1][5][4] He won the Ecumenical Award in 2000 in the Montreal World Film Festival for his film Ali Zaoua: Prince of the Streets.[6] Ayouch is set to produce the French-Moroccan thriller film Mirages.[7]

Ayouch's 2012 film Horses of God is based on Mahi Binebine’s novel The Stars of Sidi Moumen. In Horses of God, Ayouch explores the radicalization that can occur from poverty and extreme machismo, alluding to the 2003 Casablanca bombings. The film competed in the Un Certain Regard section at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival.[8][9] It was also Morocco's submission for the 85th Academy Awards (held in February 2013).

In 2021, Ayouch's film Casablanca Beats was selected for the 74th Cannes Film Festival competition.[10]

Ayouch is a member of the Academy of Motion Pictures, the Académie des Césars, and the Arab Film Academy.[4]


Ayouch's film Much Loved, which takes place in Marrakesh caused a stir due to its unsimulated sex scenes.The movie was finally banned in Morocco.[11]

Personal life

Ayouch works and lives in Casablanca.[4] He is married to fellow Moroccan filmmaker and actress Maryam Touzani.[12]


As director

As writer

As producer

  • 2000: Ali Zaoua: Prince of the Streets (associate producer)
  • 2006: Tiwarga (TV Movie)
  • 2006: Heart Edges
  • 2008: Houti Houta (TV Movie)
  • 2010: L'Equipe (The Team) (TV Series)
  • 2010: Al ferka (TV Series)
  • 2010: 3ichk al baroud 2010 (TV Movie)
  • 2010: Mirages
  • 2011: My Land (Documentary)
  • 2011: Zinat Al Hayat (TV Series) (executive producer)
  • 2012: Quand ils dorment (Short)
  • 2012: Horses of God
  • 2013: Une bonne leçon (TV Movie) (line producer: Morocco)
  • 2013: C'est eux les chiens...
  • 2015: Much Loved
  • 2015: Aji-Bi (Documentary)
  • 2015: All Three of Us (line producer: Morocco)
  • 2015: Aya Goes to the Beach (Short)
  • 2017: Pluie de sueur
  • 2017: Zwaj El Waqt (TV Movie documentary)
  • 2019: Wadrari (Documentary)
  • 2019: Adam
  • 2023: The Blue Caftan


Further reading

  • Jonathan Smolin, "Nabil Ayouch: Transgression, Identity, and Difference" in: Josef Gugler (ed.), Ten Arab Filmmakers: Political Dissent and Social Critique, Indiana University Press, 2015, ISBN 978-0-253-01644-7, pp 214–244


  1. ^ a b Creutz, Norbert (2016-03-08). "Nabil Ayouch secoue le cocotier marocain". Le Temps (in French). ISSN 1423-3967. Retrieved 2020-08-10.
  2. ^ Benbachir, Simo (2019-06-03). "Nabil Ayouch ... le controversé". Morocco Jewish Times (in French). Retrieved 2020-08-10.
  3. ^ a b Elgrably, Jordan (December 2017). "Razzia: Nabil Ayouch's critical multi-threaded homage to Morocco's cultural tapestry". Retrieved 2021-06-21.
  4. ^ a b c d "Nabil Ayouch". IMDb. Retrieved 2020-12-02.
  5. ^ Goodman, Sarah (2019-03-17). "Behind the Silver Screen: A Conversation with Morocco's Nabil Ayouch". Morocco World News. Retrieved 2020-08-10.
  6. ^ AYOUCH Nabil: Réalisateur, scénariste Archived 2005-10-15 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ Bloody Baby a Hallucination? First Images From 'Mirages'!
  8. ^ "2012 Official Selection". Cannes. Retrieved 2012-05-19.
  9. ^ "God's Horses: Cannes Review". Hollywood Reporter. 19 May 2012. Retrieved 2012-05-19.
  10. ^ Orlando Parfitt2021-06-03T08:31:00+01:00. "Cannes reveals 2021 Official Selection". Screen. Retrieved 2021-06-21.((cite web)): CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  11. ^
  12. ^ "Ils font le cinéma méditerranéen: Maryam Touzani, du journalisme au cinéma". 2018-03-17. Archived from the original on 2018-03-17. Retrieved 2020-12-02.
  13. ^ "Nomination dans l'ordre des Arts et des Lettres juillet 2015 - Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication". Archived from the original on 2016-04-24. Retrieved 2016-01-14.
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Nabil Ayouch
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