Making its world premiere at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival next month, is “Sembene!,” the feature documentary on Africa’s most celebrated filmmaker, the late Ousmane Sembene, from co-directors Samba Gadjigo and Jason Silverman.
Here’s how the filmmakers summarize the film: In 1952, Ousmane Sembene, a Senegalese dockworker and fifth-grade dropout, began dreaming an impossible dream: to become the storyteller for a new Africa. This true story celebrates how the “father of African cinema,” against enormous odds, fought a monumental, 50-year-long battle to give Africans a voice.
Long-time readers of this blog should be familiar with Sembene, given how often the filmmaker’s name and work have been covered on this blog over the years. If you’re not familiar, you should become familiar. This documentary could be your introduction, although it might be some time before you actually get to see it.
In 2010, we featured the beginnings of what was to be an 8-part animated film, also by these 2 filmmakers, about, not only Sembene, but also about the importance of reclaiming African stories. The series was to combine animation and archival footage, to show the making of Sembene as an influential African storyteller, through the dialogue between an 82 year-old narrator named Bouabacar and his grand-daughter Coumba.
This film is an expansion or extension of that series.
Ahead of the film’s premiere at Sundance this week, the filmmakers launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise $27,500 to finish the film – a campaign that was very successful, blowing past its goal, and raising almost $33,000. Within the pitch video for the film below, you’ll find a preview of what’s to come: