School of Hope

School of Hope is an intimate and charming portrait of optimism in the harshest of environments. In the vast expanse of desert East of Atlas Mountains in Morocco, seasonal rain and snow once supported livestock, but now the drought seems to never end. Hardly a blade of grass can be seen, and families travel miles on foot to get water from a muddy hole in the ground. Yet the children willingly ride donkeys and bicycles or walk for miles across rocks to a “school of hope” built of clay.
Following both the students and the teachers in the Oulad Boukais Tribe’s community school for over three years, School of Hope shows students Mohamed, Miloud, Fatima, and their classmates, responding with childish glee to the school’s altruistic young teacher, Mohamed. Each child faces individual obstacles - supporting their aging parents; avoiding restrictions from relatives based on traditional gender roles - while their young teacher makes do in a house with no electricity or water.
The Oulad Boukais Tribe is just one of many rural communities around the world struggling to establish adequate schooling for students. School of Hope conveys the passion and commitment of the Oulad Boukais Tribe in securing academic opportunity for their children, despite the roadblocks of their environment and the apparent indifference of their government.


Original name School of Hope
Original language Arabic
Subtitles English
Genre Documentary
Production year 2020
Production country Finland, France, Morocco, USA
Running time 78 min


Direction Mohamed El Aboudi (also scriptwriter)
Cinematography Hannu-Pekka Vitikainen / Marita Hällfors / Päivi Kettunen
Sound recording Lou Strömberg / Miki Brunou / Salla Hämäläinen
Sound design Pietari Koskinen / Kirsi Korhonen, SoundeFilm
Composer Richard Horowitz & Andrew Silagy
Editing Lizi Gelber / Florence Bresson / Mohamed El Aboudi / Mikko Sippola
Translation Tiina Kinnunen / Maria Pakkala
Graphic Antti Kangassalo, Farm
Production Management Oona Saari, Illume / Jenny Timonen, Illume
Assistant Editors Leo Suonikko / Toni Anttila / Niina Vornanen
Digital Post-Production Kari Mankinen, TOAST / Veikko Ruuskanen, TOAST / Vesa Vinni, TOAST
Co-Producer Lamia Chraibi, La Prod / Aimee Link, Vulcan Productions / Hind Saïh, Bellota Films / Dominique Barneaud, Bellota Films
Co-Production Manager Kim Nyhous, Vulcan Productions / Leila Badet, Bellota Films
Production Assistant Franqois Giesberger, Bellota Films
Post-Production Assistant Robin Gaussé, Bellota Films
Executive Producers Leila Amran, La Prod / Jody Allen, Vulcan Productions / Ruth Johnston, Vulcan Productions / Rocky Collins, Vulcan Productions
Associate Producer Susan Grella, Vulcan Productions
Unit Production Manager Lamia Chraibi, La Prod
Production Coordinator Sophia Menni, La Prod
Assistant Director Réda Nouiga, La Prod
DIT Oumaima Tahri, La Prod

Screenings and awards


  • 02.05.2021 Yle TV1 11:15am EET
  • 29.04.2021 Yle TV1 19pm EET


  • 31.07.2021 FIPADOC
  • 05.05.2021 Millenium International Documentary Film Festival
  • 05.05.2021 DOK.fest Munich (SOS-Children Villages Prize)
  • 29.04.2021 Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival (International Special Jury Prize)
  • 14.03.2021 Tampere Film Festival (Special Prize)
  • 01.02.2021 DocPoint (Jury's Special Mention)


  • Pertti Veijalainen, Illume Oy

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