“Sembene!” is a feature documentary on continental Africa’s most celebrated filmmaker, the late Ousmane Sembene, from co-directors Samba Gadjigo (author of Sembene’s official biography, “Ousmane Sembene: The Making of a Militant Artist”) and Jason Silverman.
A 2015 Sundance, Cannes 2015, London Sydney film festival selection (and others), the film was picked up for US distribution by Kino Lorber, with a fall theatrical release set, in conjunction with key national festival engagements. Digital and home media releases are scheduled for 2016.
Here’s how the filmmakers summarize the film: “SEMBENE! tells the unbelievable true story of the self-taught novelist and filmmaker who fought, against enormous odds, a 50-year battle to give Africans the power to tell their own stories. SEMBENE! is told through the never-before-seen archival footage and verite footage of the man who knew him best, colleague and biographer Samba Gadjigo. A true-life epic, SEMBENE! follows an ordinary man who transforms himself from a manual laborer into a fearless and often polarizing spokesman for the marginalized, becoming a hero to millions.”
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 not, this documentary could be your introduction!
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.
Check out the release trailer below: