Marshall to host virtual women’s filmmaking presentation



To celebrate Women’s History Month, Marshall University will host a virtual presentation on Moroccan women’s filmmaking on Mar. 26 to commemorate women’s international achievements in the film industry.    

The event, titled “Accented Cinema: Moroccan Women’s Exilic & Diasporic Filmmaking,” will discuss the history of Moroccan film, the rise of globalization, the adoption of American filmmaking techniques in Morocco, and women’s involvement in the industry.   

Dr. Touria Khannous, a Harvard University and Columbia University exchange scholar and associate professor of Arabic at Louisiana State University, will be the main presenter. Khannous is a graduate of Université Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdellah (USMBA)  in Fes, Morocco. Fes is also home to al-Qarawiyyin University, the oldest university in the world, founded in 859 A.D. by a woman, Fatima al-Fihri. 

During the event, Khannous will discuss the films “MaRock,” “Adam,” “L’enfant Endormi” and “Rock the Casbah” to illustrate the cultural elements involved in Moroccan film and their changes over time. 

Khannous will also discuss globalization and “accented cinema,” including the sensitivity to films through the lenses of transnationality and multiculturality.   

Dr. Amine Oudghiri-Otmani, an English professor at MU, helped coordinate the event. Oudghiri-Otmani is a former international student who also graduated from USMBA. He said this event is an excellent opportunity to reconnect with his alma mater and help Marshall connect with this university.   

Oudghiri-Otmani said this was his first time coordinating an event with multiple departments at Marshall, including the Women and Gender Center and the Office of Intercultural Affairs. He said this event’s organization went smoothly, and many staff members were excited about the presentation.   

“Though nothing can truly replace face-to-face interaction, these webinars are tremendously helpful,” Oudghiri-Otmani said. “They’re a great supplement and extremely beneficial to students.” 

Dr. Walter Squire, MU’s director of film studies, said he was glad to see a multicultural event related to film studies at MU.   

“I’m really happy about it,” Squire said. “To be able to teach students about not only African filmmaking but women’s African filmmaking is extraordinary. It’s a great opportunity.” 

Dr. Squire said he hasn’t been hosting events in film studies since the pandemic began. He said he postponed the 2021 student film festival, which usually takes place in the spring, until the fall semester. Squire said that while other organizations have been hosting film festivals virtually, it would not be the same experience as those of past years.   

“There were so many student filmmakers who talked about how great it was to see an audience, for their films and see how the audience reacts,” Squire said. “To me, that level of community and being able to share your film to see an audience’s reaction is so important that I decided to do it in the fall.” 

Squire said that issues with video streaming across multiple devices also contributed to his decision. He also said he didn’t want students to feel anxious that their work may be recorded without their permission.   

The Department of Film Studies is co-sponsoring the event, with the Department of Modern Languages, the School of Music, and the Women’s and Gender Center. This event is one of MU’s many efforts to bring educational presentations to students while following COVID-19 guidelines.   

Madison Perdue can be contacted at [email protected]