The 2020 film “Broken Gaiete,” written, produced and directed by Las Cruces filmmaker Hafid Abdelmoula, recently won best feature film at the 2021 Santa Fe Film Festival.
The film also has been entered in the Lonely Wolf London International Film Festival, Abdelmoula said, where it has been nominated for best production design.
It’s entry in the World Music Independent Film Festival includes nominations for best actor (Hector Dez), actress (Irene Taylor), supporting actor (Mark Vasconcellos), supporting actress (Elizabeth Elise Gonzales); original soundtrack (Tasos Eliopoulous), first-time director, screenplay and editing (all Abdelmoula) and best feature film.
It also was screened at the Amsterdam International Film Festival and the Out of the Can International Film Festival, Abdelmoula said. Additional festival screenings are pending.
“The movie really talks about a man and a woman who cross this village that lives by absurd and crazy rules,” Abdelmoula said. “They decide to live there only to discover one of the rules about a newborn baby that made everything change, and they had to figure out how to survive.”
The 104-minute film was Abdelmoula’s graduate-school thesis. It was shot in Abdelmoula’s backyard in Picacho Hills and in the Las Cruces desert in 2018, using cast and crew from Las Cruces and El Paso.
“It took me about a year to write and it took another year to shoot and edit,” Abdelmoula said. “It had no budget. It was nothing but passion, sweat and tears.”
Hafid and Trudel Abdelmoula are the movie’s executive producers. Tiffany Figueroa was the production designer and Luis Galindo was director of photography.
“It was the most dedicated small group of crew and cast ever,” Vasconcellos said, and included “brutal cold and heat shooting at night dressed in sacks. Everyone was multi-tasking to make this film come to fruition. It literally took blood (I fell and broke a tooth and busted [my] lip, but, hey, it is in the movie!), sweat and tears to accomplish this big movie on a micro-mini budget,” Vasconcellos said.
Abdelmoula has a bachelor’s degree in film from New Mexico State University and an MFA in directing from the Vermont College of Fine Arts.
A native of Morocco, Abdelmoula was a singer at the Moroccan Regional Orchestra Conservatory at a young age and an actor/writer/director with a Moroccan theatre company. He has written and directed plays since age 20. As a singer, Abdelmoula won a 1996 television competition on the Moroccan 2M TV channel.