On my global Golf Kitchen Journey, I have been very fortunate to meet some incredible people. On my last visit to Morocco in December 2015, I traveled with a group of American golf professionals as guests of HRH Prince Mouley Rashid and his dynamic team to help raise awareness of the abundance of golf and tourism in this both historic and modern country.
During this trip we met young filmmakers Ayoub Hanchaoui and Mohammed (Simo) Bellouki of K∙MUN Productions. They were creating a documentary titled “An American Golf Journey in Morocco”, and all of our traveling group were about to become a part of it.
I became very endeared to these young entrepreneurs from Morocco and have stayed in close contact with them to follow their careers.
GK: Tell me about your backgrounds leading up to K∙MUN Productions.
Simo: I have been inspired and influenced by movies since I was a young child but never thought I would work in cinema. It looked very "elite" to me, a field reserved for only few people.
At the age of 15, I found myself very attracted to technology. I kept jumping from one field to another, each time thinking I had found who I am but I didn't. I learned and worked in repairing computers, programming, coding websites, 3D modeling and graphic design. As technology was getting cheaper and more accessible, I felt the urge to buy a DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex Camera) for photography.
When I started reading and watching reviews on the internet, I was surprised to see how DSLRs could render very cinematic results if you had the right knowledge. I became very excited and passionate once I held the camera in my hands. I spent dozens of hours almost every day for a year, studying and experimenting with pictures, sound, video editing, storytelling and everything related to the art of cinema. I finally found true happiness in filmmaking.
I worked for four years as a freelancer, creating all kinds of videos for different clients and investing in more gear to take on bigger projects. When I was about to start my own company, Ayoub Hanchaoui contacted me to shoot a golf project with him.
Ayoub: I have been watching inspirational and motivational videos for as long as I can remember and I always wanted to meet inspiring people to make similar ones. One day a friend who plays American football suggested that I make a portrait about him, and the project sounded very exciting. After creating an emotional video with a very low budget, it met with unexpected success and I started getting many messages of encouragement.
Moncef Ougacem, one of the K∙MUN founders, was one of the people who watched the video and contacted me for many projects, among them a golf series where I met Karim Guessous, a Moroccan professional golf player and instructor.
GK: Why and how did you meet and form K∙MUN?
Simo: Two years ago, I met Ayoub through a common friend who needed us both to shoot a series pilot with a low budget. We both decided to do it for free, believing it was a good opportunity to make new contacts and indeed it was. Ayoub and I connected very well and began sharing our dreams and passion. A year and few months later, Ayoub had this opportunity to direct a golf series "The Hole Signature" and contacted me to make it together. The entrepreneurs who started that project really liked the end result and saw our potential, so we ended up connecting with them and that's how K∙MUN started.
Ayoub: I would add to what Simo previously said - "basically the law of attraction is how we met."
GK: What advice would you give other young film makers?
Simo: Keep on learning, writing and shooting, stay consistent! The process of filmmaking is not an easy one and you have to keep repeating it to be good at it. Learn to love it, so you can grow through the pain, and you'll see that it's worth it in the end. When you develop your expertise, you can entertain, inspire, and change so many people's lives with the art of cinema, and you can influence future generations just like world-class filmmakers.
Ayoub: I'm still a young filmmaker and I need advice as well. But if I had to share some knowledge from my experience, I would tell you to have self-confidence, dream and work hard every single day to make it a reality. Don't expect anyone to push you, focusing on your dream will!