Asmae El Moudir on Oscars selection: It’s all about Niya

Asmae El Moudir on Oscars selection: It’s all about Niya

Sweeping awards left and right, the docudrama by Asmae El Moudir, “Kadib Abiad” (The Mother of All Lies) will be representing Morocco in this year’s Oscars run in the category of best international film.

In an interview with MoroccoLatestNews, Asmae El Moudir expressed her sentiments towards Morocco’s push, explaining that her movie is now on the run for two categories, best international film and best documentary.

Hoping to be shortlisted to advance in the world’s most prestigious film festival, El Moudir said that her film “this prideful designation took a lot of work, as it is a docufiction which necessitated a lot of work on the fiction aspect, which is probably why many appreciated it all over the world.”

As the Oscars rely on votes, the Moroccan talent hopes that her movie will be met with immense support, to add to the awards that she has been stocking all years long, such as Cannes’ Best Director award and Sydeny’s Film Festival’s Best Picture award.

“It’s all about Niya”, stated El Moudir, taking great pride in her movie’s award run and hoping for more in the future.

Beginning with El Moudir wondering why she only has one childhood photo and why the girl in the photo isn’t even her, the movie, which debuted in May from the Cannes Un Certain Regard section, tells the story of how Asmae and her father create a small set of their neighborhood on a soundstage and bring the entire family there in order to uncover the truth.

This image served as the catalyst for the director’s research into all the small lies her family has been telling her. Throughout the film, Asmae gradually investigates the history of her community and entourage. 

Among the five films submitted to The Moroccan Cinematography Center (CCM) for the Oscars run, three meet the criteria required by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. 

In addition to the feature film by Asmae El Moudir, these are the films “Animalia” by Sofia Alaoui and “Queens” by Yasmine Benkiran, indicated CCM in a press release.

“The Mother of All Lies” was unanimously designated last Thursday by a commission chaired by the director Narjiss Nejjar who chairs the Moroccan Cinematheque, actress, director, and head of the Higher Institute of Dramatic Art and Cultural Animation (ISADAC), Latefa Ahrrare, directors and producers Mohamed Ahed Bensouda and Hakim Belabbes, film distributor Mohamed Khouna, film critics Khalil Demmoun and Ali Hassan, and cinema operator Hassan Belkady.

Ecstatic, Asmae El Moudir took to Instagram to share the news by publishing screenshots from media outlets like Variety, Screendaily, Hollywood Reporter, and Deadline.

The director told us that this was Morocco’s cinema year, as she anticipates updates from the film academy to embrace what’s to come.

Asked whether her movie will be screened at the Marrakech International Film Festival “FIFM”, her favorite event of his kind, Asmae admitted that she still has no idea about the festival’s program, yet hoping to attend nonetheless.

Presented twice at the Atlas Workshops, a talent and industry growth initiative developed by FIFM, “The Mother of all Lies” won the workshop’s prize for development in 2019, and the prize for post-production in 2021.


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