Culture under the Sun: Dominic West & Co at the Marrakech Biennale

Vanessa Branson’s Moroccan festival of contemporary culture is back, and it promises to live up to its aficionados’ expectations… Now in its fourth edition, the boutique festival set up by Richard’s little sister in her luxury Marrakech Riad hotel has lined up a stellar list of participants, drawn from both the London and international worlds of literature, film and visual arts. Expect four days of screenings, performances and debates from 29th February to 4th March, including talks by actor Dominic West, director Kevin MacDonald and screenwriter Anthony Horowitz…

With former participants including filmmakers John Boorman (Deliverance) and Julian Schnabel (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly), film producer Eric Fellner (Four Weddings, Notting Hill, Bridget Jones’ Diary), actors Richard E. Grant (Withnail and I) and Kim Cattrall (Sex and the City), bestselling author Zadie Smith, and guests such as singer Annie Lennox, expectations were high for the fourth edition of the Marrakech Biennale (formerly Arts in Marrakech).

And the line up doesn’t disappoint, with a particularly strong film programme curated by Alan Yentob, creative director at the BBC. The Wire’s legions of fans (Chic-Londres amongst them) will be able to listen to Dominic West talk about life after the cult series, in which the Old Etonian played hard drinking Baltimore cop Jimmy McNulty.

There will also be sessions on screen-writing, producing and directing set in the 17th century townhouse Riad El Fenn animated by screenwriter Anthony Horowitz -who is currently writing the sequel to Steven Spielberg’s Tintin. Last but not least, Kevin Macdonald, acclaimed director of One Day in September, State of Play, The Last King of Scotland, and Touching the Void, will also be in attendance to present a screening of his latest film, Marley, a documentary about the iconic reggae artist.

Literature and visual arts followers haven’t been forgotten, with other participants including b author Rian Malan, whose book My Traitor’s Heart, his memoir of growing up in Apartheid-era South Africa, was translated into 11 languages, as well as Turner Prize nominated artist Roger Hiorns. The latter’s work will be part of Higher Atlas, the festival main visual arts exhibition, which will take place at the Theatre Royal and will bring together 37 international artists, architects, writers, musicians and composers.

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