Said to be inspired by true stories, Grand comme le Baobab (Tall as the Baobab Tree) tells the tale of a teenage girl who hatches a plan to rescue her 11-year-old sister from an arranged marriage.
Directed by Jeremy Teicher (his feature film debut), the film is a scripted follow-up to his Student Academy Award-nominated documentary titled This Is Us (which premiered at the American Ambassador’s residence in Dakar, Senegal).
Baobab’s synopsis reads:
Coumba and her little sister Debo are the first to leave their family’s remote African village, where meals are prepared over open fires and water is drawn from wells, to attend school in the bustling city. But when an accident suddenly threatens their family’s survival, their father decides to sell 11-year-old Debo into an arranged marriage. Torn between loyalty to her elders and her dreams for the future, Coumba hatches a secret plan to rescue her young sister from a fate she did not choose. Grand comme le Baobab (Tall as the Baobab Tree) poignantly depicts a family struggling to find its footing at the outer edge of the modern world… where questions of right and wrong are not always black and white.
The village is called Sinthiou Mbadane, in Senegal, where the film was shot, on location, and features local villagers playing roles that mirror their actual lives.
Teicher also states that it’s the first feature film in the colloquial Pulaar language.
The film made its world premiere at the Montreal World Film Festival last summer, and will make its USA premiere, screening in competition at the 56th San Francisco International Film Festival, which runs from April 25 – May 9.
Watch the trailer below: