Doha Moustaquim, a Young Moroccan Filmmaker on the Rise


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Doha Moustaquim is one of the youngest professional filmmakers in Morocco.

At the ripe age of 21, the Casablanca-raised director has already made a name in the filmmaking industry by producing her recent film “BYE-BYE LA FRANCE.”

Growing up with a deaf and mute father and an Amazigh mother she chose an artistic career in a male-dominated field.

All these challenges did not stop the young filmmaker from pursuing her passion, yet she is still fighting to make a name for herself in the filmmaking industry. Doha Moustaquim spoke to Morocco World News to explain her origins, the challenges she faces, as well as her inspirations.

Read also: Maha Tazi to Represent Morocco at World Slam Poetry Cup 2021

Doha’s beginning 

Doha Moustaquim was raised in Derb Sultan, Casablanca. As she came from a deaf and mute father and an Amazigh mother who spoke only average Darija, Doha found difficulties using words to express herself from a young age.

Doha tried music and writing when she was young but after endless nights of watching Youtube, listening to podcasts, and enjoying television she discovered the art of filmmaking, and how it was the perfect instrument to finally let her voice her thoughts.

“I got attached to filmmaking so fast because I realized it was the tool that best allowed me to express myself in such an authentic way,” Doha told MWN.

Filmmaking started as a hobby for Doha. A hobby in which she could finally convey her feelings and truly express herself. She started shooting one-minute videos on Instagram, putting much of herself into the videos. Sometimes she would make a video and keep it to herself just for her own satisfaction.

“Doing this made me realize that this is what I want to do for the rest of my life, causing me to decide to switch majors to actively pursue filmmaking as a career,” Doha said.

Challenges Doha faced 

Doha found herself in a male-dominated field, where men still outnumber women and inequality reaches into every facet and corner of its domain.

Consequently, female directors have to work 10 times harder in order to fight sexism and the patriarchy, while proving themselves capable of leading several people on set.

“I have struggled to make people trust me for my gender more than I had to for my potential.”

As a young aspiring filmmaker, Doha had no prior connections. In the filmmaking industry, it’s all about who you know.

Your network is one of the most important factors in your career. Everyone needs a motivating network of important personalities supporting them throughout their journey. Having people believe in your success is crucial for any prospering career.

Entering a new professional field and meeting new people can definitely be intimidating.

Luckily, Doha had the unwavering support of her parents. They have served as a constant source of encouragement when she needed someone to lean on. 

Doha’s parents have guided her and provided a solid foundation for her filmmaking journey by always pushing her to be the best version of herself.

Her parents believed in her talent and potential and allowed her to leave to another city to pursue her dream.

“My parents are the reason why I have never quit, and never will,” Doha explained.

Doha’s inspirations

As for any other filmmaker, watching films is basically homework. Doha watched films and series, took notes, found inspiration in the little things, and learned many valuable lessons.

Her favorite film director is Martin Scorsese, one of the major figures of the “New Hollywood” era. Martin Scorsese is regarded as one of the most significant and influential directors not only in Hollywood but in film history. 

For Doha, his meticulous and gritty filmmaking style is the closest example of what she aims to portray in her work.

Doha’s directing style is versatile and multifaceted, that’s why the directing style of “Parasite” has inspired her the most. “Parasite” is a consensus favorite among critics, audiences, and award judges.

It is the first South Korean film to receive Academy Award recognition, winning both the Palme d’Or and the Academy Award for Best Picture.

The film was a great inspiration for Doha. It helped shape her as a director and a filmmaker and it turned Korean director Bong Joon Ho into one of her favorite filmmakers.

Read also: Moroccan Filmmaker Aziz Tazi on His Rise to Hollywood Fame

Morocco in Doha’s work

In her recent movie “BYE-BYE-LA FRANCE,” Doha Moustaquim made sure to add a Moroccan touch and represent its cultural heritage in her work. Raised among diverse Moroccan categories, Doha learned that everyone has a unique story and life struggles.

This only pushed her to further show different perspectives of real Moroccan life in her work. 

“We made sure to include Marrakech in the story as its day warmth reflected the sweet treatment that Marrakech gave its visitors during the day, and how its night reflected the harsh life of its homeless people.”

Doha believes Morocco’s culture is a big inspiration for her and that it should be highlighted more in cinematic works.

In her rise to become a filmmaker, Doha Moustaquim has faced many challenges and learned vital lessons to help her in her future.

She does have advice for aspiring filmmakers who are just taking their first step into the industry.

“Do it with passion, don’t ever forget that you chose this field to share your art with the world, so don’t do it with a frustrated and stressed mind,” she advised. “You are here doing something that people enjoy watching, so do it passionately and with love.” 

Doha added, “aim to touch hearts and leave a legacy, not to make figures and drown in money, pour your heart into it and people will feel the energy of your work.”

Women in Morocco have always had a presence in filmmaking. Examples such as Laila Marrakchi (Rock the Casbah), Leila Kilani (On the Edge), and Narjiss Nejjar (Cry No More) have achieved great success.

It is easy to think that things have improved dramatically when we see high profile women, yet that can skew our perceptions of how women are still underrepresented. 

That is why it is important to support rising female filmmakers such as Doha Moustaquim and give them a chance to show their potential.