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A 52 minute documentary film on the waters of Fez -- the ancient water system, the current state of water in Fez, and its future.

A 52 minute documentary film on the waters of Fez -- the ancient water system, the current state of water in Fez, and its future. Read more
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Joe Lukawski
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Joe Lukawski

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About this project

Why water?

Because it is humanity's most vital resource. Period.

Why Fez?

The advancement of clean-water technologies and sustainable practices in urban planning and design surrounding water have recently emphasized Morocco, and Fez in particular, as a site where new urban solutions can yield significant socio-economic benefits. Its current location chosen by Moulay Idriss II for the river running through, Fez has been celebrated for its history with water – its ornately tiled fountains, the nearby spas at Moulay Yacoub and Sidi Harazem, and the sounds of water coursing through medieval underground channels at night. 

Today, however, the river suffers from pollution. The historic water system is in disrepair, damaging Fez’s buildings as the damp rises. Tales of homes collapsing, in part due to excessive moisture, feature regularly in the Moroccan press. In a crowded cityscape, the poor state of a rare resource’s infrastructure has major socio-economic ramifications. State-supplied water is now expensive for many, and the cost is rising alonside the threat to Fez's urban heritage. This film will explore the role of water in Fez’s urban tradition and the problems with disrepair and access to clean water that many medina inhabitants face everyday. It will also follow international and local actors as they conceive of a Fez where the river once again flows clear.

The Film

Les Eaux Cachées will combine an ethnographic-leaning documentary approach with the creativity and aesthetics of Fez's over 1200 year history. We will be consulting Fassi photographer Omar Chennafi throughout the production to capture the essence of Fez in filming urban scenes and in a new approach to historical re-enactment. The film will not only speak to experts and expats (who have become keen on restoring old houses), but to the people of Fez, all of whom have stories to share, and some of whom have decades of experience in dealing with the waters of Fez. 

The Production

Currently, I am on location in Fez for pre-production research, which you can follow at our blog http://fezfilm.wordpress.com. We plan on doing some shooting as soon as our camera arrives from the US, but principle filming will take place between February and April. We currently have one HDV camera, tripod etc... but need your help to pull the shoots together this spring, as my grant does NOT cover production. We aim to produce an English and French verison for TV and DVD and a version in Moroccan Arabic for local distribution. For this we hope to partner with UNESCO, but they will not offer production funding.

Why should you help?

Because you can help us employ local cameramen and sound engineers as well as local university students - as production assistants and translators.

Because this kind of story needs independent support. Though we can always do our best with what we've got, our production quality relies on you. The more you give, the better the film looks, sounds and is distributed - everyone who donates will receive special mention in the credits.

Because your help with the film also helps to preserve the heritage of Fez, part of our world heritage, and gives the people of Fez a voice in this.

Because water-related issues affect everyone. Safe access to drinking water and safe urban infrastructure are not far flung issues relegated to only certain corners of the world. They may effect your neighbors

Because you are simply a documentary junkie, willing to stay up until 2 a.m. when your public-funded media outlet of choice rolls-out a rare or little-publicized documentary that interests you, and this may be your chance to help produce one!

photos by: Omar Chennafi

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    A small glossy Omar Chennafi print. Mention in the credits of the film.

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    A large matte, hand-signed Chennafi print. Mention in the credits of the film.

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    All of the above and a limited edition DVD in a handmade jacket.

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    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    All of the above, plus a surprise craftwork handmade in the Fez medina.

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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    All of the above, plus a private screening in Fez and a traditional Moroccan meal for two from Café Clock. (airfare to fez not included)

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    All of the above plus a nights stay in one of Fez's beautifully restored Riads (airfare not included). Executive producer credit in the film.

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Funding period

- (45 days)