Sahara Lab

Sahara Lab is a Moroccan educational and media NGO whose mission is to identify, encourage and train emerging film and media makers to tell their own stories about Morocco’sdiverse, desert culture and its people from Ouarzazate to Dakhla, from Guelmim to Smara.

After identifying interested and committed emerging film and media makers, Sahara Lab provides an immersive set of workshops todevelop stories for screens that are accessible to audiences both within Morocco and a larger international viewership. Makers areencouraged to develop stories that engage audiences to explore further issues of identity and culture that celebrates a vibrant people.While these workshops are intensive and demanding, Sahara Lab’s methods lead to bringing inexperienced mediamakers.



Accepting people from differing backgrounds and skill levels, the workshops teach storytellers how to combine technical and aesthetic aspects ofstorytelling, beginning with the basics of converting ideas to moving images and sounds and moving through to a fully developed processof production and postproduction including providing production and producing expertise. Sahara Lab looks to extend methods and sources for distribution and exhibition from traditional screenings to working with scholars andresearchers to find the widest possible audience. 

The idea of a “Film Lab” required a strong will in preparing the moral and material conditions which in turn would enable a group of young filmmakers to get intothe creative act, for one year, with the assistance of a “wild bunch” of Moroccan and international experts. The southern Moroccan city of Laayoune was the chosenplace. The project was launched in 2015, in the form of master classes and workshops about the documentary filmmaking process, during which Belabbes provedthat real modern cinematic writing broke all genre barriers; those that previously differentiated between the types of films, that the storytelling process is always thebasis, and that what makes the uniqueness of each film was the personal input and creativity in the way of telling the story.