Keira Maameri

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Keira Maameri
Bornc. 1980
🏳️ Nationality France
🏫 EducationUniversity of Paris 8 Vincennes-Saint-Denis
💼 Occupation
📆 Years active  Since 2001
Notable workDon't Panik (2010), Street Literature (2016)

Keira Maameri (born c. 1980) is a French film director. She directed documentaries exploring the place of artists from underprivileged backgrounds in the French cultural scene.


Born in Algeria, Keira Maameri's parents immigrated to France when she was one-year-old. The family lives in the working-class banlieue of Longjumeau. Although she qualifies her childhood as "normal", she recognizes that being schooled in a more privileged neighboring city gave her more opportunities[1].At a young age, she gets interested in cinema and is introduced to hip-hop by her older brother Hamid, and his IAM cassette tape[2].

After her Baccalauréat, her application to the University of Paris 8 Vincennes-Saint-Denis, where she intends to enroll in a cinematography program, is rejected. She organizes a sit-in in front of the dean's office and is eventually admitted to the program. She pursued her studies and holds a Master's degree in cinematography[1].

While she was still a student, she directed To our missings (2001) a documentary where she explores death and mourning in songs.

Hip-hop culture permeates her work, especially her first three documentaries. She says about it: "It's my love for cinema and for hip-hop that got me here today, doing documentaries about MCs or culture. Of course, I don't just talk about hip-hop in my films, but I need to give those artists a platform to speak".[2]

Notable work[edit]

  • Keep hanging on to our dreams

On s'accroche à nos rêves (2005) translated to Keep hanging on to our dreams is a documentary following four women in the French hip-hop scene: Lady Alézia (graffiti), Dj Pom (deejay), Magali (dance) and Princess Aniès (rap). Maameri gives a different perspective of the male-dominated hip-hop movement, where women are respected for the quality of their work[3].

  • Don't Panik

Don't Panik (2010) is "based on an analysis of Muslims rappers"[4] and the apparent contradiction of being a rapper and a Muslim[5]. Islam is part of these rappers' identity, and they refuse to see their music essentialized to Islam[6]. This documentary follows six Muslim rappers from different countries: A.D.L. (Sweden), Duggy Tee (Senegal), Hasan Salaam (United States), Manza (Belgium), Youss (Algeria), and Médine (France). The title is a reference to Médine's album Arabian Panther (2008) and his song Don't Panik.

  • Street Literature

Nos Plumes (2016) translated into Street Literature, explores stereotypes fostered by the French cultural elite towards novelists and cartoonists from the Banlieue[7]. Keira Maameri films three novelists, Faïza Guène, Rachid Djaïdani, Rachid Santaki, and two cartoonists, Berthet One and El Diablo. According to Mame-Fatou Niang[8], Associate Professor at Carnegie Mellon University, this documentary shows that, although these writers and cartoonists are critically acclaimed, their themes are not considered universal by the French media. In fact, they're labeled as banlieue authors, and therefore at the periphery of literature[9]. For Karim Hammou, specialized in the history of rap in France[10], this documentary illustrates "with sensitivity the dilemmas of a literary activity that confronts forms of particularization, compartmentalization"[11].

List of documentaries[edit]

  • 2001 : À nos absents (45 min) - To our missings
  • 2005 : On s’accroche à nos rêves (45 min) - Keep hanging on to our dreams
  • 2010 : Don’t Panik (1h30)
  • 2016 : Nos plumes (1h23) - Street Literature


  1. 1.0 1.1 Claire Diao (2016-09-08). "Keira Maameri, cinéma auto-produit". Bondy Blog (in français). Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  2. 2.0 2.1 Anthokadi (2011-04-11). "Keira Maameri : She's Muslim, Don't Panik | Interview". Abcdr du Son (in français). Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  3. Bakèla, Dolorès (2017-01-23). "Keira Maameri filme pour parler de ceux dont on ne parle pas - ChEEk Magazine". (in français). Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  4. Mielusel, Ramona (2018). Franco-Maghrebi Artists of the 2000s. Brill. p. 114. ISBN 978-90-04-38544-3. Search this book on Logo.png
  5. Brown, Rachael (2016-05-07). "Why is hip-hop growing in popularity among young Muslim Australians?". ABC Radio. Retrieved 2020-12-03.
  6. El Asri, Farid (2015). Rythmes et voix d'islam: Une socioanthropologie d'artistes musulmans européens. Presses universitaires de Louvain. p. 43. ISBN 978-2875583123. Search this book on Logo.png
  7. Forster, Siegfried (2016-09-16). "Keira Maameri: «Nos plumes, ce sont les plumes de la France»". Radio France Internationale (in français). Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  8. University, Carnegie Mellon. "Mame-Fatou Niang - Department of Modern Languages - Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences - Carnegie Mellon University". Retrieved 2020-12-05.
  9. Niang, Mame-Fatou (2019). Identités françaises. Boston: Brill. p. 132. ISBN 9789004416734. Search this book on Logo.png
  10. Hammou, Karim (2014). Une histoire du rap en France. Paris: La découverte. ISBN 9782707181985. Search this book on Logo.png
  11. Hammou, Karim. "« Nos plumes » sont-elles hip-hop ?". Sur un son rap (in français). Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)

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