On That Day

Mohanad Yaqubi
Morocco - Palestine - Belgium

Synopsis

Why do people leave? and Why do they return? A director from Palestine is searching for a reason to return to his village in Morocco after 150 years. This takes him on a journey through time and archives, unravelling a forgotten history of the struggle against colonisation, a curse that followed his family through generations until today. The film sketches an image of a turbulent Arab region through the 20th century through following the director’s family’s history of displacement, from the colonisation of al-Maghreb to the colonisation of al-Mashreq, and through various minor wars here and there, which have shaped the director’s sense of eternal exodus.

Documentary
Production

Idioms Films (Morocco)
Mohanad Yaqubi
Sami Said
info@idiomsfilm.com

Co-production

The Kitchen (Belgium)
Joachim Ben Yakoub

Director’s statement

Five years ago, when my father Ahmad retired from his job of 40 years as a hydrogeologist, he started to spend more time on social media. There, in cyberland, he connected with people who have the same family name as ours in Morocco. A year later, he obtained his Morocco nationality. It turned out that my great-grandfather was originally Moroccan, from a village in the heart of the Atlas called Irshieda. According to urban legend, one Abdelsalam left the village and followed the path of the pilgrims to Mecca around 180 years ago. His family never heard from him again, but knew that he had settled in Jerusalem, and that we are his ancestors. When I looked at that timeline, I realised that it would have been in the 1840s, the time when Amir Abdel Qadir led the struggle against the French occupation, that Abdelsalam went into exile, never to return – and I began to wonder what his motives were.

Biographies

Mohanad Yaqubi
Mohanad Yaqubi
Director & producer

Mohanad Yaqubi is a filmmaker, a producer, and a resident researcher at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts (KASK) in Gent, Belgium. He is a co-founder of Idioms Film, as well as of the research and curatorial collective Subversive. His first feature-length film, Off Frame AKA Revolution Until Victory (2016) was selected for the Berlin, Dubai and Toronto International Film Festivals, Cinéma du réel, and the Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival, and has seen 50 other screenings worldwide. As a producer, Yaqubi’s feature-length film credits include Susan Youssef’s Habibi (2010), Khaled Jarrar’s Infiltrators (2013), Suspended Time (omnibus, 2013), Mohammed Jabaly’s Ambulance (2016), Basma Sharif’s Ouroboros (2017) and Lina Alabed’s Ibrahim: A Fate to Define (2019). He has also produced several short films, including Ramzi Hazboun’s Pink Bullet (2014), Omar R. Hamilton’s Though I Know the River Is Dry (2012) and Milena Desse’s The Sun and the Looking Glass (2020).

Total budget

€295 500

Financing secured

€50 000

Partners attached

AFAC, KASK, School of the Arts, Gent, Idioms Film            

Shooting period and locations

2021, Morocco, Palestine, Belgium, Kuwait

Expected delivery

September 2023

Looking for

Moroccan production company, development and research fund, script consultation

Pitch

Other Atlas Close-Ups