School of Hope (2020)

78 min documentary film
Illume Ltd, Bellota Films & Vulcan Productions 2020

School of Hope is an intimate and charming portrait of optimism in the harshest of environments. In the vast expanse of desert East of Atlas Mountains in Morocco, seasonal rain and snow once supported livestock, but now the drought seems to never end. Hardly a blade of grass can be seen, and families travel miles on foot to get water from a muddy hole in the ground. Yet the children willingly ride donkeys and bicycles or walk for miles across rocks to a “school of hope” built of clay.

Following both the students and the teachers in the Oulad Boukais Tribe’s community school for over three years, School of Hope shows students Mohamed, Miloud, Fatima, and their classmates, responding with childish glee to the school’s altruistic young teacher, Mohamed. Each child faces individual obstacles – supporting their aging parents; avoiding restrictions from relatives based on traditional gender roles – while their young teacher makes do in a house with no electricity or water.

The Oulad Boukais Tribe is just one of many rural communities around the world struggling to establish adequate schooling for students. SCHOOL OF HOPE conveys the passion and commitment of the Oulad Boukais Tribe in securing academic opportunity for their children, despite the roadblocks of their environment and the apparent indifference of their government.

Directed by Mohamed El Aboudi
Cinematography Marita Hällfors, Päivi Kettunen & Hannu-Pekka Vitikainen
Editing by Florence Bresson, Mohamed El Aboudi, Lizi Gelber & Mikko Sippola
Score music Richard Horowitz & Andrew Silagy
Sound design Pietari Koskinen
Sound recording by Miki Brunou, Salla Hämäläinen & Lou Strömberg