The Global Search For Education: Uncovering the Soul of Marrakech’s Bicycle Evolution in Pikala Binatna

C. M. Rubin
3 min readOct 16, 2023

This month, audiences can screen Pikala Binatna on the Planet Classroom Network. This film is curated for the Planet Classroom Network by Planet Classroom.

Embark on a captivating journey with Pikala Binatna. Director Brianna Celestina follows Jamal’s mission in Marrakech, Morocco to transform bikes from mere transportation to symbols of creativity and community.

Discover how Pikala Binatna’s bike enthusiasts unite, crafting a compelling narrative of breaking barriers and fostering togetherness.

The Global Search for Education is pleased to welcome Director Brianna Celestina.

Brianna, what inspired you to tell Jamal’s story and shed light on the mission of breaking bike stigma in Marrakech?

Spending time with Jamal and the whole Pikala Bikes team really brought the story and the mission to light for us. Their passion for breaking that stigma was so palpable and energetic that telling their story was such a natural pathway for us as storytellers. You can tell from the film that Jamal was a huge character on their team and throughout the city, so he organically became our foundation through the filming process.

Your film beautifully captures both the bikes and the shop’s essence. How did you approach blending visuals to highlight their transformative journey?

We knew approaching the visual storytelling aspect of the film was going to be a slight challenge since there is such movement to everything that Pikala Bikes does. In the end, we wanted to capture that as authentically as possible. There was a lot of holding the camera in one hand and holding onto a bicycle with the other, which in the end really brings the audience into the cycling experience. When not on a bicycle, it was just as important to capture the energy around Pikala Bike’s shop. In order to do that the camera was always with us, moving about, as the team moved through the space.

The narrative showcases unity amid diversity. Can you share insights into balancing individual stories while emphasizing their collaborative impact?

Something we were very conscious about was the diversity on the team and representing that in the film. Our setting was Marrakech, so we knew that our story had to be rooted in the city. As much as the film is about Pikala Bikes, it is also, if not more, about what it is doing and could be doing for the everyday citizen in the city. In order to do this, we grounded the project with Jamal — a native Moroccan who found Pikala Bikes and became a huge contributor to its success. Cantal and Sam are also extremely important characters in the film and to Jamal’s story, so we wanted to introduce them in an organic way: through each other, which is exactly how it happened in real life. Once we knew Jamal, Cantal and Sam, the rest sort of fell into place.

Through Pikala Binatna, what emotions or perspectives do you hope audiences will take away about fostering change within a community?

I think the film showcases a coming together of unlikely communities. I hope the audience sees all the individual perspectives watching it, and they can resonate with someone within the film. At its core, the film is about community, and I hope that after watching it, the audience feel that authenticity. And of course that they want to ride some (really cool!) bicycles through Marrakech with Pikala Bikes!

Thank you Brianna

C.M. Rubin with Brianna Celestina

Don’t Miss Pikala Binatna, now streaming on the Planet Classroom Network. This film is curated by Planet Classroom.