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MARRAKECH, Morocco – Harvey Weinstein made a surprise appearance at the Marrakech film festival, walking the red carpet with One Chance stars Alexandra Roach and Valeria Bilello. The title will screen out of competition following the Cinecoles student film award ceremony Friday night.
It was the uber-producer’s first time in the Moroccan city. “I’m here to support Alex and Valeria on this movie that we also produced,” he told reporters assembled on the red carpet. “And it’s great to be here. I’ve never been to Marrakech so it’s super exciting.”
One Chance tells the true story of British mobile-phone salesman Paul Potts, an amateur opera singer who went on to win the first season of Britain’s Got Talent in 2007.
Weinstein had not been scheduled to appear, but wowed the crowd as he walked the red carpet arm-in-arm with Bilello and Roach, who also stars in the hit BBC series Utopia.
It was bright spot in the evening after it was announced that Palme d’Or-winning director Bille August was held up in a blizzard and would not be able to attend the festival’s closing ceremony Saturday to accept an award on behalf of Scandinavian cinema.
During tonight’s ceremony, the Cinecoles award was presented by the jury, comprising French actress Astrid Berges-Frisbey (Origins), French directors Jan Kounen (The Players) and Sylvie Testud (Another Woman’s Life), Afghan director Atiq Rahimi (The Patience Stone) and jury president Nour-Eddine Lakhmari, the director of Zero, which broke records at the Moroccan box office last year.
“We were surprised by the films’ quality, creativity and maturity,” Kounen said of the student films. The jury turned away from the crowd and donned fedoras before breaking into a choreographed dance to Michael Jackson‘s 1987 smash hit “Bad,” reflecting the title of the winning film by Ayoub Lahnoud & Alaa Akkaboune.
The 22-minute film, by the students from the College of Visual Arts (ESAV) in Marrakech, tells the story of a young deaf-mute boy who works to overcome his disabilities in an intolerant world. The winners were awarded funding for their first feature.
One Chance opens in the U.S. on Dec. 27.
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