Saturday, May 7, 2022

Chicago Professor Weaves Tale Of Two Morocco's

In several ways, the half-hour documentary Morocco, Morocco feels like it was meant to be.

Jackie Spinner, the film's director and a journalism professor at Chicago's Columbia College, has two Moroccan-born sons. And the small town of Morocco, Indiana is not too far from her current home base.

The documentary, produced with the help of a grant from the Pulitzer Center, premiered this week on local PBS-TV station WWTW. The film is currently available to view online.

Spinner, a staff writer and war reporter with The Washington Post from 1995 to 2009, first stumbled upon the town of Morocco with her husband as they were on their way back from Cincinnati. She is the founder of two independent student newspapers in the Middle East, AUIS Voice in Iraq and Al Mir'ah in Oman, and helped put on "Conflict Zone," a combat photojournalism exhibit.

The documentary incorporates a couple of unusual wrinkles. On the U.S. side of filming, most of the crew was made up of veterans. And the idea of tying in drawings from children on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean came from a friend.

"I was actually talking to a friend of mine, who was an art therapist," Spinner explains to student newspaper The Columbia Chronicle. "She asked me if I had thought about incorporating art and drawings in any way."

"To me, it's one of the most endearing parts in the film because both sets of Moroccans have heard about the other, mostly through film and TV, and so they don't always have the exact right ideas," she continues. "But they're curious about each other and that's the connection to humanity."

Another highlight is a segment featuring local American-side doctor Dr. Oranu Ibekie (pictured, above). He explains how he randomly put a pin in a map to choose the Indiana town of Morocco to establish a family practice, and comically recalls a local sheriff pulling up to him when he was checking out office space.

Morocco, Morocco is at heart a leisurely paced slice of life. It allows the points to make themselves, such as the portion where a local tattoo artist, after Ibekie is joyfully introduced, recalls Black kids being chased away in the 1970s from the town pool.

No comments:

Post a Comment