Nabil Ayouch

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Nabil Ayouch
Nabil Ayouch 2014.jpg
Born (1969-04-01) 1 April 1969 (age 52)
Paris, France
OccupationFilm director, producer, and screenwriter
Years active1992–present
Spouse(s)Maryam Touzani

Nabil Ayouch (born 1 April 1969) is a French-Moroccan television and film director, producer, and writer.

Early life[edit]

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

Film career[edit]

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, he 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[3]

In 1999, he created a production company called Ali n'Productions to aid aspiring young directors establish their careers.[1][4][3] He won the Ecumenical Award in 2000 in the Montreal World Film Festival for his film Ali Zaoua: Prince of the Streets.[5] Ayouch is set to produce the French-Moroccan thriller film Mirages.[6]

His 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 in 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.[7][8] It was also Morocco's submission for the 85th Academy Awards (held in February 2013).

He is a member of the Academy of Motion Pictures, the Académie des Césars, and the Arab Film Academy.[3]


Nabil Ayouch's film Much Loved, which takes place in Marrakesh and includes scenes of prostitutes servicing wealthy Saudi clients, was banned in 2015 by Morocco's communications minister Mustapha Khalfi to “protect freedom of expression, which absolutely does not mean freedom of absurdity and destruction in cinema.”[9]

Personal life[edit]

Nabil Ayouch works and lives in Casablanca.[10] He is married to a fellow Moroccan filmmaker and actress Maryam Touzani.[11]


As director[edit]

As writer[edit]

  • Les Pierres bleues du désert (1992)
  • Mektoub (1997)
  • Ali Zaoua, prince de la rue (2000) a.k.a. Ali Zaoua: Prince of the Streets (USA)
  • Une minute de soleil en moins (2003) (TV) a.k.a. A Minute of Sun Less (International: English title)
  • Whatever Lola Wants (2007) co-written with Jane Hawksley

As producer[edit]

  • 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


Further reading[edit]

  • 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 c "Nabil Ayouch". IMDb. Retrieved 2020-12-02.
  4. ^ Goodman, Sarah (2019-03-17). "Behind the Silver Screen: A Conversation with Morocco's Nabil Ayouch". Morocco World News. Retrieved 2020-08-10.
  5. ^ AYOUCH Nabil: Réalisateur, scénariste Archived 2005-10-15 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ Bloody Baby a Hallucination? First Images From 'Mirages'!
  7. ^ "2012 Official Selection". Cannes. Retrieved 2012-05-19. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  8. ^ "God's Horses: Cannes Review". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2012-05-19. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  9. ^ Alami, Aida (2015-06-03). "Morocco Defends Ban of 'Much Loved'; Attack on Actor Is Called Unrelated (Published 2015)". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-12-02.
  10. ^ "Nabil Ayouch". IMDb. Retrieved 2020-12-02.
  11. ^ "Ils font le cinéma méditerranéen: Maryam Touzani, du journalisme au cinéma". 2018-03-17. Retrieved 2020-12-02.
  12. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-04-24. Retrieved 2016-01-14.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

External links[edit]