And I was just having a conversation with a friend yesterday, about this film, and how perfect an addition to the Kino Lorber library it would be, given the company’s past pick-ups, some covered on this blog.
Kino Lorder has announced its acquisition of all U.S. rights to “Sembene!,” a very necessary documentary on the life and legacy of a man known as the father of African cinema, Ousmane Sembene. The acquisition occurs in advance of the film’s international premiere in the Official Selection of the 2015 Cannes Film Festival.
It made its world premiere at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival earlier this year, and hails from co-directors Samba Gadjigo (author of Sembene biography, “Ousmane Sembene: The Making of a Militant Artist”) and
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 very 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,
as Kino Lorber is planning a fall theatrical release for the film, in conjunction with key national festival engagements, and a home media releases in 2016.
Kino Lorber CEO Richard Lorber said: “We were powerfully impressed by ‘Sembene!’ Much more than a biopic about a great filmmaker, Sembene becomes larger than life on screen as a political and cultural change agent of enduring importance. We are exhilarated to have the opportunity to introduce his work (and the man) to much wider audiences than have up to now followed his films.”
“We are excited to work with Kino Lorber to ensure ‘Sembene!’ reaches a wide audience,” said Gadjigo. “We believe Sembene’s life and works can inspire a new generation in the same way they inspired me.”
The deal was negotiated between Kino Lorber CEO Richard Lorber and, on behalf of the filmmakers, Andrew Herwitz, President of the Film Sales Company, and Dan Cogan of Impact Partners. The Film Sales Company, which is also handling worldwide rights on the film, is already in conversation with foreign buyers about the film in anticipation of its debut on the Croisette.
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.
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: