Mustafa Z

Mustafa, a 44 year old Tunisian, is preparing for a day and night out of the ordinary on the eve of the second round of free presidential elections in 2014 in Tunisia. His marriage is on the rocks as he lives with constant criticism about his lack of ambition and unassuming character from his wife, Farah, yet his nightmare is just about to begin!

Whilst getting ready in the bathroom, one of his teeth falls out.Then on the school run, Malek, his teenage son, insults him with scathing remarks. Next his work day begins with his instant dismissal : he will never again present the news on the radio!

He seeks calm by shutting himself at home where he falls asleep. On waking he notes with dismay that there is blood in his urine but no time to angst as he must rush to pick up Malek to take him to his after school classes. He then suddenly runs out of fuel and has to abandon his car in search of petrol. On his return he discovers that his car is missing: it is about to be impounded ! He tries in vain to bribe municipal officials, exasperated in the face of adversity, he attempts one last gesture of rebellion and locks himself in the car only to be towed away to the pound!

Meanwhile onlookers film the scene and immediately post events on social media unbeknown to Mustafa. This triggers a chain reaction that foreshadows the expectations and the mindset of Tunisians at the dawn of the presidential elections. The night ahead unfurls just as unexpectedly as the day had for Mustafa ! His absurd misadventure turns him into a reluctant hero, a tiny grain of sand in the increasingly fragile democratic Tunisian cog. Little by little he regains his dignity and self-esteem and who knows perhaps the start a new life…

Date of shoot:   July 2016
Date of release: 2017


A father and his son leave in quest of Zero. An initiatory quest for a most weird figure. Indeed, Zero fascinates as much as it worries and disturbs. Invented by the Indians, launched by the Arabs, Zero set out for the Western world which showed some reluctance to adopt it. From Delhi to Tachkent, from Baghdad to Alexandria, from Kairouan to Carthage, Zero did not content itself with the East to exist, cross the Mediterranean and transform the world.

The entire world is indebted to Islamic science for transmitting Zero and consequently Arabic figures, but also for inventing decimals and algebra. More still than China and India, Islam approached modern experimentation. The Islamic mathematicians collected a large mass of observations, making use of Greek and Persian sources and also refining the Ptolemaic parameters. They developed optics and designed planetary models that were confirmed by the research work of Copernicus.

This documentary series plunges us right into the heart of Mediterranean and Eastern ways of thought and highlights the scientific approach in Islam. “ZERO !” retraces the itinerary of the Zero figure while at the same time enlightening the shared history of civilizations.

Claudine RABAA
Christian SERANOT

Date of shoot:   November 2013
Date of release: February 2017



"Through this unique film, Nidhal CHATTA tries to introduce us to the societies that explored new concepts, talked about eternity of time, about infinity of space and many more new ideas disregarding the dogmas that were prevalent at the time… For once, Nidhal CHATTA makes the subject of mathematics and all the zeros, decimals and number tables that nagged us so much in our younger days a lot more interesting and visually appealing to watch…"

Vikas SWARUP, spokesperson of External Affairs Ministry, Government of India and author of the novel Q & A best known as Slumdog Millionaire, winner of Best Film for the year 2009 at the Academy Awards




"The General History of Africa series that I am making all over Africa and the South by South West crew that I have been working with in Tunisia have been absolutely wonderful and very professional… We had an excellent time working with Nidhal filming the historical sites of Carthage, Kerkouane and Kairouan…"
(Zeinab BADAOUI, Director)

"It has been a really positive experience and a very good week shooting in Tunisia. The team here has been fantastically so helpful. First of all technically, it couldn’t have been better…It was a very pleasant and professional crew we’ve worked with… They’ve physically gone out for locations to set up for our filming. The communication has been fantastic in terms of coordinating permits, transport and filming in the different locations… We went to the best places we wanted to see and we got some amazing footage… The atmosphere on the set was totally relaxed and I felt safe and secure all week…"
(Bridget OSBORNE, Senior Producer/ Lucy DOGGETT, Assistant Producer)

The General History of Africa

BBC journalist and producer Zeinab Badawi talks about her work, her beliefs and her commitment to making the General History of Africa, a series of 6 documentaries that she intends to give for free to African states TV stations, colleges and universities.

Zeineb stresses that this project is by far the most interesting and valuable project she ever been involved in. She also declared : « The General History of Africa is a legacy project and a unique project because never before in the history of broadcasting, have we had a systematic look from prehistory to the modern era of Africa’s history told, I hope, in a compelling way, particularly targeting young people and particularly targeting Africans… »

Date of shoot:   May 2016
Date of release: 2017


Koul Trab

South by South-West is behind the much-anticipated « No Man's Love » from Tunisian director Nidhal CHATTA, a co-production between Mirage Films (Tunis), Black & White Films (Paris) and Lichtfilm (Köln) in collaboration with Terry FORRESTAL, stunt coordinator and second unit director in tandem with Mike VALENTINE, United Kingdom’s premier underwater photographer.

The story of “No Man's Love” lures us into the interior world of protagonist Akim, his suffering and alienation. Akim is a young scuba diver who lives together with his older, more austere, brother Issa in an isolated lighthouse on the Tunisian coastline. Tormented by his sister's recent suicide and frustrated by Issa's strictly regimented lifestyle, Akim leaves to accept an offer from a local Mafia boss to dive into a Roman water tank deep for crates containing gold in the Tunisian desert. Haunting images of his sister plunging into the depths of the Mediterranean Sea hinder Akim's experience of coming to terms with his great loss. In search of freedom and wary of destiny, between the glistening heat of the desert and the enveloping depths of the sea, Akim arrives elsewhere…

"A young man, looking for orientation in his life: Hakim (Lotfi ABDELLI) is a scuba diver, living in an old lighthouse with his brother, the very strict and orderly Issa, somewhere in the Tunisian south. Having just lost his sister Leila through suicide, Hakim's world seems to be breaking apart, leaving him behind with a profound feeling of loss and guilt for not having been able to prevent his sister's death.

With his first feature film, Nidhal CHATTA presents a beautifully shot road movie about a young man's quest for identity in a no man's land between the ocean and the desert, both of these territories evoking death. Trying to come to terms with his life, Hakim is haunted by images of his sister floating in the depths of the sea. Amazing underwater shots intrude into his interior world, a world where reality and imagination, past and present, the here and now and the hereafter are not clearly separated any more, and where images turn into a monochrome blue, color of longing, of melancholy, grief and loss. In a first person voice over narration, a deep reflection on Hakim's state of mind, we learn about his feelings, which openly contradict his violent and aggressive attitude towards his surrounding.

“No Man's Love” is like a deep breath of fresh air: only rarely in the last few years has a Tunisian film taken such a new, undisguised look on its protagonists, on a young generation in crisis, looking for freedom, for a sense in life, for a reason to exist, to live and to love. Being completely free of false exotic embellishment or ornamentation, “Under the Sea of Sand” speaks of marginalized, alienated beings, living at the edges of society, struggling with tradition and destiny, looking for orientation in a world that is not always their own, where love only exists for a short period of time and, in the here and now, is not made to last. The poetry of its tone and its photography, its compelling actors and the newness of its style turn this work into one of the rare diamonds in recent Tunisian cinema."

Sarah Mersch

Date of release: November 2016



"I met Nidhal in 1994 on « Between the Lines III » the leading BBC series. I was the stunt and action coordinator on the project and he was the Tunisian based line producer. We instantly became friends and over the years a close professional and personal relationship developed.

In 1999 I was back in Tunisia to supervise the underwater scenes of his first feature film « No Man's Love » shot in the wild cold waters of El Haouaria, north of off the north coast the Tunisian coast. It was an amazing challenge and a great experience for our British crew to work on this low budget independent film. Thanks to the determination of Nidhal and the talent of Mike VALENTINE, we took up the challenge and ended up with stunning and haunting underwater footage…

I took part in some of the most famous Hollywood blockbusters: Indiana Jones, Superman, Braveheart, Brazil, and Titanic but this experience with Nidhal was one of the most outstanding and rewarding of my career…"

(Terry FORRESTAL, Stunt and Action Coordinator)



Whispering Sands

Award winning and acclaimed director Nacer KHEMIR shot « Whispering Sands » his last feature early on December 2015. South by South West provided line production support to this beautiful film.

Nacer’s movie was indeed very demanding in terms of locations, logistics and production facilities. We filmed in the Tunisian South, mainly in the ancient desert cities of Nefta and Tozeur including Tamerza waterfall, Chott Djerid, the largest salt lake in North Africa and Sidi Bou Helal canyon which was also one of the main settings of Spielberg’s « Raiders of the Lost Ark »

Nacer achieved huge international success with his firts feature
« Wanderers of the Desert » and more recently with « Bab Aziz ».

Date of shoot   :   December 2015
Date of release: 2017


Mamie Nova has launched its ad campaign in Tunisia after 12 years to reintroduce its products in North Africa.

Two TV ads and five web ads were produced in order to explain why Mamie Nova - a major French brand - is back in Tunisia and what it means to the local audience.

Nidhal CHATTA said: " As a director, this shoot was quite challenging. I loved the web and TV concepts developed by the agency and I really enjoyed directing these ads".

Brand: Mamie Nova
Director: Nidhal CHATTA
Director of Photography: Joël LABAT
Client: ELBENE
Production: South by South-West

Date of shoot   :   October 16, 17, 18  2016
Date of release: October 24  2016