CHEMS EDDINE ZINOUN played IBN BATTUTA the legendary world traveler from the 14th century undertaking his first pilgrimage to Mecca from Tangier. Journey to Mecca marked Zinoun's first lead role in a film. The entire production team was deeply saddened by the death of Chems on November 12, 2008, shortly after the film was completed. He was 28 years old. (See attached press release in Appendices) Zinoun was born in 1980 in Casablanca to a family of distinguished professional dancers. Both his parents and older brother all dance, as did he. 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, where he remained for three years, earning his professional dance diploma. He next landed a two-year contract with the Royal Ballet of Flanders, touring such countries as Ireland, Spain, Portugal, Holland and the United States and dancing in such classical ballets as "Romeo and Juliet," and "The Sleeping Beauty."

He then moved to France to join the contemporary dance troupe at the Centre Choreographic National, the Ballet du Nord in Lisle, working with clowns, acrobats among others. During this time, he choreographed his first dance, "Enfants de Covers." At age 24, Zinoun returned to Morocco to choreograph a festival of traditional dance in Marrakech. He then joined his father, who was also a film director, as his assistant and had a small acting role in La Beauté et Eparpille. His first professional film role was in the Swedish production, The Knights Templar, directed by Peter Flint, a two-part series shot in Sweden, Denmark and Morocco, about Saladin, who conquered Jerusalem. The period picture was based on the book by Jean Guillou. He learned to ride a horse for his second film, the sci-fi feature The Objective, directed by Daniel Merrick (Blair Witch Project) filmed in Afghanistan and Morocco. Playing a guide to the CIA which is secretly searching for outer planetary life, Zinoun spoke English and Berber in the film. The film recently premiered and won a prize at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City.

Cast:

Ibn Battuta: Chems Eddine Zinoun
The Highwayman: Hassam Ghancy
Ibn Muzaffar: Nadim Sawalha
Hamza: Nabil Elouahabi

Crew:

Director/Co-Screenwriter: Bruce Neibaur
Executive Producer: Jake Eberts
Producer: Jonathan Barker
Producer: Dominic Cunningham-Reid
Producer: Taran Davies
Co-Producer: Dima Alansari
Co-Producer: Dounia Benjelloun
Co-Producer: Al-Zain Al-Sabah
Screenwriter: Tahir Shah
Screenwriter: Carl Knutson
Supervising: Producer Diane Roberts
Supervising: Producer Tony Thatcher
Line Producer: Daniel Ferguson
Director Of Photography: Matthew Williams
Production Designer: Mike Fowlie
Art Director: Philip Murphy
Editor: Jean-Marie Drot
Costume Designer: Emma Bellocq
Location Director - Mecca: Abdul Latif Salazar
Director Of Photography - Mecca: Afshin Javadi
Director Of Photography - Mecca: Ghasem Ebrahimian
Director of Photography – Mecca: Rafey Mahmood