Based on a true story, Mokhtar recounts the tale of a young boy who lives with his family of goatherds in a remote, Moroccan village. One day, the boy finds a fallen owl and decides to keep it, despite the fact that the owl is considered a bad omen. Mokhtarʼs new pet becomes a symbol of rebellion against his family and an icon of his fledgling independence. Kinship, religion and spirituality are all confronted in this film that celebrates inner and outer strength.
Mokhtar is Halima Ouardiri's first film, which she wrote, directed and produced. The film was shot on super-16mm in the remote countryside of Morocco near Agadir, starring local villagers, many goats, and an owl. Of all the cast, only the owl was trained as an actor. Since its premiere at TIFF, the film has traveled to a hundred international film festivals (Dubaï, Rotterdam, Berlin, SXSW), and has won numerous awards for Best Short, including the Jury Prize at Namur, the Golden Sheaf Award at the Yorkton festival, the Audience award and the Best short Prize at the Rendez-vous du cinéma Québécois. Halima is currently writing her first feature film.