According to the oral history passed down through generations, the town of Morocco, Indiana, was named for a traveler wearing red-topped Moroccan leather boots who passed through while the founders were clearing land in 1851. Few people who reside today in the small farming community know much about the country in Africa, which remains as mysterious to them as the man on horseback whose red boots are depicted on the welcome sign off the highway. We spend time with the town doctor, the sheriff, a single mother who owns a coffee shop, a tattoo artist and a farmer to get an idea of what it's like to live in Morocco in the middle of America. We then travel to Morocco in Africa to film a leather boot maker whose craft has hardly changed in the last 170 years. The highlight of the film are the children in Morocco and Morocco, whose ideas about each other remind us that we're all connected.
In July 2019, journalist and filmmaker Jackie Spinner was driving home to Chicago with her two Moroccan-born sons after vacation. She spotted a town called Morocco in Indiana on a map. It was only about 2 hours southeast of Chicago and just across the Illinois border. She decided to stop early one morning on the last leg of their trip. As she watched her sons play, her oldest son turned to her. "This doesn't look like Morocco," he told her. Her younger son then asked her where all the Moroccans were. A film idea was born.
Spinner spent the next two years visiting the town and filming with her Chicago-based team to find out how the town got its name and what connections--if any, existed between the town of Morocco and the country in North Africa. They followed the mystery of the red boots, which are featured prominently on the town's welcome sign, back to Africa, where they filmed the final segments in the midst of the pandemic. Morocco, Morocco is the story of what they found.