Once upon a time, not even all that long ago, Essaouira was the biggest harbour town in Morocco and had the largest sardine catch in the world. Now the sardines are scarce there and the fisherman are forced to make their way southwards to Dakhla, where the Western Sahara meets the Atlantic. But it's tough going there as well: European, Russian and Asian fishing companies are dragging the waters with their trawlers, so the locals often return home empty-handed. Director Jawad Rhalib shows the impact of the meagre catch on the rest of the town as well, from the grocer who watches his profits dwindle to the homeless woman who can forget about expecting any charity. With stories like these, it would seem obvious where Rhalib's sympathies lie, as well as our own. But he also shows the other side and accepts the Swedish captain he talks with for the man he is. Be that as it may, the Swede's complaints about the fishing industry in Europe and its excessive rules and quotas hardly seem as problematic as the social circumstances of the Moroccan fisherman.
Doc Alliance is a creative partnership of 7 key European documentary film festivals. Our aim is to advance the documentary genre, support its diversity and promote quality creative documentary films.