Sofia Alaoui

FR / MA / QA
Audience Award

In a village in the Atlas Mountains, newly-wed and heavily pregnant Itto lives in the home of her wealthy in-laws. Itto herself is a member of the Amazigh, or »free people«, and comes from a working-class background. Her husband Amine is the son of a caïd, a local leader. He is a loving husband, but is controlled by an oppressive father and an overbearing mother, who is contemptuous of Itto’s modest origins. When the family goes away on a trip, Itto is left alone in the family villa for the first time and relishes some rare moments of solitude. But chaos suddenly breaks out: green lightning flashes across the desert sky, dogs, birds and sheep behave oddly, mist descends on the villages, helicopters, armoured vehicles and armed troops appear – a state of emergency is declared. What starts out as a tongue-in-cheek description of Morocco’s moneyed classes now develops into a mysteriously destabilising event of global proportions – underscored by Amine Bouhafa’s ominous film music. Itto’s quest to reunite with her family turns into a sci-fi road trip through a country in turmoil. Her faith falters, leaving Itto increasingly sensitive to the forces that intertwine humans and other-worldly beings.

Sofia Alaoui offers no explanation for the disaster unfolding in her visually stunning interpretation of an alien invasion drama. For her, Animalia is »a human odyssey and an ode to nature and the question of man’s place in this complex world«.

In cooperation with the Afrika Film Festival Köln

Director / Script

Sofia Alaoui


Noé Bach


Héloïse Pelloquet


Mariette Mathieu Goudier


Amine Bouhafa


Oumaima Barid, Mehdi Dehbi, Fouad Oughaou


Wrong Films, Srab Films, Dounia Production, Jiango Films, Margaux Lorier, Toufik Ayadi, Christophe Barral, Dounia Benjelloun Mezian, Sofia Alaoui


Arte France Cinéma


Totem Films

Sofia Alaoui

Born in Casablanca, French-Moroccan director and screenwriter Sofia Alaoui grew up in Morocco and China. After graduating from high school, she studied film in Paris, setting up her own production company Jiango Films in Morocco in 2017. Her first short feature film Kenza des choux screened at several festivals. She gained recognition for her short film Qu’importe si les bêtes meurent (Who Cares if the Goats Die). Filmed in the Atlas Mountains with non-professional actors delivering performances in the Berber language of Tamazight, she incorporated elements of the supernatural into the narrative. The film won the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival 2020 and the César for Best Fiction Short Film 2021.

Films by Sofia Alaoui (selection)
Qu’importe si les bêtes meurent 2020 | Kenza des choux 2018 | Children of Nablus 2015

Awards for Animalia:
Spezialpreis der Jury des Sundance Filmfestival