Tribute to Chems Eddine Zinoun
The entire production team of Journey to Mecca was deeply saddened by the death of Chems on November 12, 2008, shortly after the film was completed. He was 28 years old.Chems was born in 1980 in Casablanca to a family of distinguished professional dancers. At age six, he began piano lessons and attended his family's dance school until he was 15 when he traveled to Belgium to study classical ballet at the Royal Ballet School of Flanders. He later danced with the Royal Ballet of Flanders in such classical ballets as "Romeo and Juliet," and "The Sleeping Beauty." Chems joined the contemporary dance troupe in France, the Ballet du Nord, working with clowns and acrobats. During this time, he choreographed his first dance, "Enfants de Covers." Chems’ first professional film role was The Knights Templar, directed by Peter Flint, a two-part series shot in Sweden, Denmark and Morocco, about Saladin, who conquered Jerusalem. His second film was the sci-fi feature, The Objective, directed by Daniel Merrick (Blair Witch Project) filmed in Afghanistan and Morocco. Journey to Mecca marked Chems’ first lead role in a film.