Skip to main content

All I Wanna Do: A Documentary about a Moroccan Father, His Son, and their Dreams of Being Singers

In her latest documentary, All I Wanna Do, Casablanca-based filmmaker Michelle Medina follows a Moroccan father and son as they chase their musical dreams.

Simohamed, impoverished and uneducated at age 48, guards parked cars for a living and is missing teeth. His teenage son gets around on crutches, having been born with only one leg. But they share a love of rap music and a wish to make an album of their own.

Medina discovered her subjects in a Casablanca neighborhood popular with rappers. Simohamed writes lyrics about his country, his mother, alcohol abuse, and his violent father; Ayoub sings. They form a rap duo called Jumrah, or Hot Coals, because, as Simohamed says playfully, they’re “always on fire.” With a little help from Medina—who was able to get musicians from the United States, Morocco, and France to offer recorded instrumentals for the duo to use as music—they record and promote an album. “Poor people have always dreamed to become artists,” Simohamed says on camera.

All I Wanna Do has been screened at more than twenty film festivals around the world and has collected half a dozen awards, including a best-director award for Medina at the 2011 World Music and Independent Film Festival in Washington, DC, and the Mira Nair Award for Rising Female Filmmaker at the 2011 Harlem International Film Festival in New York City. “That was very encouraging because it’s the first time that I’ve gotten an award like that,” Medina says of the former prize, which she accepted in person. She admits to some surprise that the film has netted as many honors as it has. “It’s been very humbling.”

Medina majored in Afro-American studies at Smith, where a visiting professor from Rabat piqued her interest in Morocco. She spent part of her junior year in Rabat and wrote her thesis on Moroccan women in cinema. After graduation she returned to the country on a Fulbright. While there she met a Jewish-Moroccan rapper—“very famous” she said—and the pair had a daughter, who is now 3. The couple split up, but Medina decided to stay in Morocco. She lives with her daughter in the center of Casablanca in an apartment just big enough for the two of them.

“Everyone asks me, ‘What are you doing in Morocco? You’re crazy! Who would want to live there?” Medina says. But sometimes those seeking roots find them in the unlikeliest places. “Even though it’s not my country by passport, it’s not my country by birth, I really have adopted this country,” Medina says. “I can’t quite explain it, but I am connected to this place.”

Click HERE for Blog Archive

Show more

Or type below to

See Popular Posts Below

Jordanian Artist Tamer Al Ahmar Revives Cultural Icons in Unique Ways

Film Discussion + Free Screening of "When Monaliza Smiled" on July 22, 2020 (Stanford by Zoom)

Hatem Shaheen Talks about the Success of his Jordanian Hair Salons حاتم شاهين يتحدث عن قصة نجاح صالونه المميز في عمان - الاردن

Top 20 (alternative) Arabic Songs of 2014 Spotlighted on Arabology

Video Recording: Ramzi Salti in Conversation with Director Fadi Haddad (July 2020)

List of Arabology’s Top 30 Songs of 2020 (Includes YouTube Playlist)

Dr. Ramzi Salti Interviewed about His Teaching Career, Radio Show, and Arabic Music

Video of Ramzi Salti's Talk about Lebanese Music (Sijal Institue, Aug 2020) Now Available

Arabology Interviews Jordanian Author Hazem Tabbaa

Dr. Ramzi Salti Interviews El Far3i about His Upcoming Crowdcast Concert on Dec 12, 2020

Click here for Labels

Show more