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Berlin Premiere: „Capitaine Thomas Sankara“ with Director Christophe Cupelin in Attendance, on Sunday, 13 October 2013 at 5 pm in Hackesche Höfe Kino

On the occasion of the 26th anniversary of Thomas Sankara’s assassination AfricAvenir invites you to the Berlin Premiere of the new and highly praised documentary “Capitaine Thomas Sankara” in presence of Christophe Cupelin at the Hackesche Höfe Kino on Sunday, 13 October 2013 at 5 pm. The portrait, composed exclusively of archival footage, of Thomas Sankara, President of Burkina Faso from 4 August 1983 until his assassination on 15 October 1987, is a tribute to this extraordinary statesman who substantially influenced the history of his country and of the African continent with his fore-sighted reforms and his decidedly anti-imperialistic politics. With this documentary reminding of a Punk manifesto fluctuating from idealism to irony, movie maker Christpoh Cupeline provides us with a holistic overview of the intellectual and political heritage of this atypical head of state, who irritated and upset the established order through his words as well as his actions.

„A movie like a straight punnch.“ Tribune de Genève

„Brutal and moving.“ Le Monde

„Sankara had the right words, the courage, the simplicity, the integrity and the personality to lend his ideas great weight. He fought for endogenous development and the autonomy of his country facing unbearable external dependencies. A real fascination emanates from this personality, who believed in what he was doing and knew what he was risking. Cupelin turns this into a fascinating portrait (…)“Africultures, Olivier Barlet

With friendly support of the Rosa-Luxemburg-Foundation and in cooperation with Sunugaal, INKOTA-Network, |+| rendez-vous-ciné, Planète Métis, Club der Freunde von RFI, Berlin Poche, Exberliner, Theater im Bauturm, Theaterdiscounter, AK Panafrikanismus, Stoffwechsel, radio multicult.fm

This archival portrait focuses on Sankara’s term as President of Burkina Faso (Upper Volta) from 4 August 1983, date of his coup and beginning of the “sankararist revolution”, until his unsolved murder on 15 October 1987. Four years during which Sankara knew that he wouldn’t have much time, tried to implement and inspire as many reforms as possible, take on as many challenges as possible and sustainably change the mentality of Burkinabès: Abolishment of the minister’s privileges, realization of food security, support of local production, vaccination campaign, expansion of the education system, fight against corruption as well as the advancing desertification and not least the fight for the emancipation of women…

Four years during which he fought against the neo-colonial power relations in the world, tried to end the influence of old colonial power France and demanded at the assembly of the African Union to not pay the national debts because he understood them as colonial debts… Four restless years full of change which shaped the history of Burkina Faso and of the African continent and ended abruptly with his assassination during the coup of his long-time companion, Blaisé Comparé... Four years which lead to the fact that he still until today inspires activists all over Africa and his entire Diaspora. Because like he said: “You can kill a man but you can’t kill his ideas.”

Press Reviews
„25 years after his unsolved assassination in 1987 this movie makes it possible to see and hear this atypical head of state again who certainly counts to the greatest African personalities of the 20th century.” Voix d’Exils

„Almost a quarter of a century ago, on 15 October 1987, Captain Thomas Sankara, President of Burkina Faso, was assassinated at the age of 37. The picture of the political leader as young, good looking, brilliant, intelligent, military hero and guitarist was nearly erased from memory, especially in Europe. Director Christophe Cupelin shows a brutal and moving filmic version of this icon unforgotten in West Africa: Capitaine Thomas Sankara.“ Le Monde, Thomas Sotinel

„Through his meticulous reconstruction of the rarely shown archive materials, Christoph Cupelin presents the biography and the political universe of Thomas Sankara, the atypical revolutionary and head of state.” Télérama

„Christophe Cupelin is turning the tables, taking advantage of the decay of the archive material. The image is decomposing on the screen and the audience slips into the role of a researcher who has to reconstruct the reality from the moving, phantom-like shadows.” Le Monde

„With flamboyance and irony this portrait of Thomas Sankara is a revival of the fate of one of the most important African heads of state of the 20th century who was murdered for his integer and anti-(neo)colonial politics.” SC – Sens Critique


  • Festival des Libertés, Bruxelles, Belgium,17 - 26 October 2013
  • 22nd International Film Festival Innsbruck, Austria, 28 May – 2 June 2013
  • Vues d’Afrique, Montréal, Canada, 26 April - 5 May 2013
  • Forum Social Mondial, Tunis, Tunisia 26 - 30 March 2013
  • Thessaloniki Documentary Festival, Greece, 15 - 24 March 2013
  • Solothurner Filmtage, Switzerland , 24 - 31 January 2013
  • Journée de Soleure, Switzerland , 24 - 31 January 2013
  • Black Movie, Geneva, Switzerland, 18 - 27 January 2013
  • Festival dei Popoli, Florence , Italy 10 - 17 November 2012
  • DOK Markt, Leipzig, Germany, 29 Oktober- 4 November 2012
  • Doc BsAs, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 18-28 October 2012
  • Festival del Film Locarno, Switzerland, 1 - 11 August 2012
  • Visions du Réel, Nyon, Switzerland, 20-27 April 2012

Audience award Black Movie Festival 2013, Genva, Switzerland

Christophe Cupelin was born 1966 in Geneva. He is 19 when he volunteered to work in Burkina Faso for a Swiss NGO. The camera in his hands he discovers as young adult a country in the midst of revolutionary upheaval. Deeply moved by this impression he decides to devote himself wholeheartedly to filmmaking. After his degree from the École Supérieure d’Art Visuel in 1993, he takes over the program directorate of the Sputnik Cinemas in Geneva and founds the production company Laïka Films.


  • 2012 Capitaine Thomas Sankara
  • 2006 Kononga
  • 2002 Y'a personne?
  • 1997 Dondoli Studio
  • 1990 Plume avait un peu mal au doigt

Further information on Thomas Sankara

|+| Website of AfricAvenir's 2012 Campaign on the 25th anniversary
|+| Facebook page „Thomas Sankara lebt | Thomas Sankara is alive“
|+| Publication in French: Redécouvrir Sankara – Martyr de la liberté

Capitaine Thomas Sankara
Christophe Cupelin, documentary, Switzerland, 2012, 90 min, subtitles

Sunday, 13 October 2013
5 pm
Admission: 7,50€

Tickets and information
030/ 283 4603

Hackesche Höfe Kino
Rosenthalerstr. 40/41
10187 Berlin
S Hackescher Markt
U Weinmeisterstraße

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