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Vanessa McMahon

Vanessa is a novel writer, screenwriter, rep and a film producer. She shares her discoveries and film surprises. :-)



Masterclass with Jean Jacques Annaud


















Jean-Jacques Annaud in Marrakech   


One of the significant features of the 2011 Festival International du Film de Marrakech, (aside from the comprehensive selection of international films screened in and out of competition) was the lineup of five master classes held daily from December 4th to the 10th by some of the world’s most celebrated film directors- French Jean-Jacques Annaud, Italian Marco Bellocchio, Turkish Nuri Bilge Ceylan, British/French Roland Joffe and American/British Terry Gilliam.

Saturday December 3rd Marrakech hosted the North African premier of legendary Jean–Jacques Annaud’s latest film BLACK GOLD (2011). During his master class, he spoke to audiences about his enduring and prestigious career as an Oscar winning director (Best Foreign Language Film for BLACK AND WHITE IN COLOR, 1976). Annaud said that when he won the award, it was not the Oscar that he was proud of, it was that he had succeeded making films he sincerely believes in, ‘films from the heart’. Like any auteur director, Annaud has experienced his up and downs; after his cinema adaptation of Umberto Eco’s novel THE NAME OF THE ROSE (1986), Annaud claims that the film was destroyed by critics; ‘It was a disastrous time in my life and I almost quit my film career then’.

Film clips from a selection of his lifetime portrait were screened during the master class- QUEST FOR FIRE (1981), THE NAME OF THE ROSE (1986), THE BEAR (1988), THE LOVER (1992), SEVEN YEARS IN TIBET (1997) and his latest epic BLACK GOLD (2011), a fifty-five million dollar endeavor produced by Tunisian producer Tarak Ben Ammar. Annaud expressed that the force that keeps him going while at work on films of such grand scale is persistence, patience and passion for the story; but most of all, he said, ’I do it to dream’.

Written by Vanessa McMahon, December 15th, 2011






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