Article originally published in La Tribune De Marrakech on Feb. 27, 2020
Written by Fadili Majda
Translation provided by Google Translate
MARRAKECH MOROCCO – Morocco has not finished making a name for itself in the world cinematographic sphere! The kingdom is put back on the front of the stage by the Canadian director and screenwriter Gino McKoy who has chosen Morocco, the regions of Marrakech and Ouarzazate more precisely, for the shooting of Lumina, a science fiction film of a new genre with American actor Eric Roberts headlining. While waiting for the release of this new “made in Morocco” production scheduled for this summer, La Tribune de Marrakech spoke with the young director over a cup of coffee at the Kech Boutique Hotel, where the film crew was staying.
While waiting for the release of the trailer, can you give us a taste of the film Lumina?
Lumina is a mixture of drama, action and science fiction. I wanted to write something unique that stood out from other forms of science fiction that we know. Usually in sci-fi movies you don’t learn much about the characters and you know they’re going to die before you really know them. So I wanted to make a film that allows audiences to relate to the characters and their stories.
Why did you choose Morocco for the shoot?
I had a number of locations to choose from to shoot the film, but decided on Morocco. It was really a symbolic choice for me to make it here. I am from the Caribbean which shares so many similarities with Africa. I also opted for Morocco for its history with cinema and the various films that have been shot there. I found the landscapes and places I dreamed of for my film there, between Ouarzazate and Marrakech, because I absolutely wanted to shoot in the desert. Some scenes were thus taken in a villa in the Palmeraie, the Agafay desert, the road to Agdz and the mountains of the region.
What was your challenge?
I did not realize that it was going to be the first sci-fi film set built in Morocco, because I find that the landscapes of this country have a gargantuan potential worthy of the greatest productions of the genre, like Alien and Predator. We then edited everything on site, working mainly with Moroccans who greatly contributed to the making of this film, the shooting of which ended after 2 years of preparation.
What are Morocco’s strengths as a film destination?
Morocco has a diversity of landscapes and a strong cultural heritage which are unique to it and which make it a blessed land for directors, without forgetting the human potential. I fell in love with this country where I made strong friendships during filming; I feel at home as this is my first visit to Morocco and Africa and it will certainly not be my last. I already know that I will take pleasure in coming back to it for my second feature film. I have a movie in the works that I wrote with American-Canadian screenwriter Michael Sloan who is also the producer of Equalizer with Denzel Washington. I would like to shoot it in Morocco, in Marrakech more precisely!
Why do you absolutely have to see the film “Lumina” when it comes out?
Because it’s unique and it’s unlike any movie you’ve seen. Unlike classic sci-fi movies, which start with action from the get-go, Lumina offers a different take. The first twenty minutes allow you to discover the different characters and to become attached to them, as one might do while watching a drama. What is on offer in the image is to follow the story of the protagonists, from Los Angeles to Morocco, knowing that the entire film was shot here! We have therefore planned two previews, one in Los Angeles and one of course in Marrakech. Patience!