School of Hope (2021, Mohamed El Aboudi)

Hot Docs ‘21

Fifteen years of drought has taken a toll on the Oulad Boukais tribe in Morocco. The documentary follows Miloud, Mohamed, and Fatima, young people that have suffered the consequences of global warming. Most nomads have taken their children and left the areas that are drying up. For those that remain, they will have to drive 40 km (25 miles) for water, while their children will have to walk several miles to and from school. Fatima’s burden is even more excessive, because her father doesn’t want her to go to school any more now that she has reached puberty.

Despite the extreme conditions these children face, the documentary offers hope as the title suggests. A new school is built and the students are enthusiastic as they strive for a better future that is within reach. However, many students express wanting to leave the area for a place that is more sustainable.

Director Mohamed El Aboudi has realized over 30 short TV documentaries as well as three other feature documentaries. He was born in Morocco and went to Bond University in Australia where he attained a Master of Film and Television. Though he now lives in Finland, it’s clear that he never forgot his homeland. Making an impact by acknowledging the harsh realities, Mohamed El Aboudi still ends up making a feel-good film somehow. School of Hope deservedly won the Special Jury Prize for International Feature Documentary. Please see it if you can.

Article was written by Allison McCulloch, follow her Twitter.

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