Hassen Ferhani

When an idea becomes a necessity, I manage to achieve it.

Director Hassen Ferhani describes himself as a multi-faceted artist sensitive to the brutality and poetry of Algerian society, its history and its hopes. A passionate film maker who has won numerous international awards, Hassen Farhani wishes to put humanity back in the spotlight. His film 143, rue du Désert is released in France on 16 June, 2021. 

Updated on 15/06/2021

2 min

Born in 1986 in Algiers, Algeria, Hassen Ferhani discovered the world of cinema by chance at the age of 17, when Franco-Algerian director Lyes Salem filmed the short film Cousines (Cousins) (2004) in his neighbourhood. Out of curiosity, Hassen Ferhani signs up as a script trainee, a founding experience that he was to deepen with his membership of the Chrysalide Film Club where he develops his cinematic art. In 2006, he directs his first short film Les baies d’Alger (The Bays of Algiers), selected in official competitions at several international festivals. In 2008, he joins the FEMIS (French National Graduate School of Image and Sound Professions) summer school in Paris, where he works in various cinematic roles: assistant director, camera director, steward etc.

After his short films Afric Hotel (2010) and Tarzan, Don Quichotte et nous (Tarzan, Don Quixote and Us) (2013), in 2016 Hassen Ferhani produces his first feature film Dans ma tête un rond-point (In My Head a Roundabout). His next film Le royaume de Malika (The Kingdom of Malika) is currently in post-production.

Hassen Ferhani is one of the leaders in the revival of Algerian cinema. A wise observer of the chaotic context in which his protagonists evolve, he portrays Algeria as it is today.

With the documentary Dans ma tête un rond-point (2015), the director places his camera in the largest slaughterhouse in Algiers to highlight the hopes and frustration of the workers, the glaring absence of prospects for young people, and the resignation of the elderly. In Le royaume de Malika, currently in post-production, the heroine runs a restaurant lost in the desert, a “no-place” that nevertheless tells the story of a country’s soul through encounters with travellers.

A humanist and committed approach serves as a guiding principle for this artisan of cinema, who is a meticulous and puritan portraitist.

While Hassen Ferhani’s first creations have already enjoyed success at various international festivals, Dans ma tête un rond-point has universal appeal: everywhere the documentary is met with enthusiasm and reaps numerous rewards. Grand Prix at the Marseille International Film Festival, Grand Prix at the International Arab Film Festival in Oran, Best International Documentary at the Turin Film Festival, Special Jury Prize at the Amsterdam International Documentary Festival, Special Jury Prize at the Agadir International Documentary Festival, Prize at the Montreal International Film Festival in the Africa category…so much international recognition, and the enthusiastic expectation of his next film, Le royaume de Malika to be published shortly.

143 RUE DU DÉSERT by Hassen Ferhani | Trailer | GeoMovies
143 RUE DU DÉSERT by Hassen Ferhani | Trailer | GeoMovies
  • 2006


    As part of a call for projects, Hassen Ferhani makes his first short film Les baies d’Alger.

  • 2010


    He co-directs the documentary Afric Hotel with Nabil Djedouani.

  • 2013


    Hassen Ferhani makes his third short film Tarzan, Don Quichotte and nous.

  • 2016


    His first feature film Dans ma tête un rond-point is released.

  • 2019


    At the Spring of Contemporary Art in Marseille, Hassen Ferhani presents excerpts from his next film Le royaume de Malika, currently in post-production.

  • 2021


    "143, rue du Désert" is released on 16 June.

The Institut français and the director

In 2018 Hassen Ferhani received support from Aide aux cinémas du monde (Aid for World Cinema). This Institut français programme provides support to foreign film-makers for film projects co-produced with France, whether they be feature-length fiction, animated films or creative documentaries. Find out more about the Aide aux cinémas du monde programme here.

L'institut français, LAB