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German Premiere: "Sembène!" by Samba Gadjigo


InfoTickets: 7,50€; ermäßigt: Berlinpass, 5er & 10er Karte, Gildepass, Heavy User Card; 030 283 46 03; www.hackesche-hoefe.org


In 1952, Ousmane Sembène, a dockworker and fifth-grade dropout from Senegal, began dreaming an impossible dream: to become the storyteller for a new Africa. SEMBENE!, a feature-length documentary, tells the unbelievable true story of the “father of African cinema”, the self-taught novelist and filmmaker who fought, against enormous odds, a monumental, 50-year-long battle to give African stories to Africans. SEMBENE! is told through the experiences of the man who knew him best, colleague and biographer Samba Gadjigo, using rare archival footage and more than 100 hours of exclusive materials. A true-life epic, SEMBENE! follows an ordinary man who transforms himself into a fearless spokesperson for the marginalized, becoming a hero to millions.

The screening will be followed by an open discussion with film curator and critique Enoka Ayemba as well as by a small reception in the cinema foyer.

With the friendly support of Brot für die Welt/EED, Katholischer Fonds, Aktion Afrika des Auswärtigen Amts. In cooperation with Sunugaal e.V.

Medienpartner: Africiné, Zentrum Moderner Orient, Club der Freunde von RFI, Berlin Poche,  Exberliner, Art Labour Archives, Planète Métis, Contemporary &, Initiative Schwarze Menschen in Deutschland

Trailer: https://vimeo.com/127435446

When Ousmane Sembène first picked up a movie camera in the early 1960s, no African had ever made a movie in Africa before. Africa's film-going diet consisted entirely of American and European movies. By the time of his death in 2007, this sixth-grade dropout, against incredible odds, had turned African cinema into its own distinctive storytelling form, inspiring a generation of artists. Sembène, perhaps Africa's most important cultural figure of the past 50 years, also proved himself one of history's greatest revolutionary artists.

Using a weave of handcrafted collage animation, new and archival footage and clips from Sembene's films, SEMBENE! takes the form of a tale being told by a wise elder, following as Sembene transforms himself from young dockworker into novelist, filmmaker and cultural icon, one who dedicated his life to telling stories that promote social justice and build a stronger Africa.

As it explores Sembene's life and work, SEMBENE! also reveals the mechanics of the modern, corporate- and government-controlled media, and presents Africa as few of us have seen it before.

"Whether it's DeMille, Hitchcock, the Senegalese filmmaker Sembene … we're all walking in their footsteps, all of us…" Martin Scorsese, the 2010 Golden Globes

A documentary film by Samba Gadjigo & Jason Silverman
Countries : Senegal/USA

"To speak of African cinema is to speak the name of Ousmane Sembene. Known as "the father of African film," this was no easy title to bear, as shown in this personal essay about one of the world's greatest artists.

Sembene! takes you from Dakar, Senegal, to the docks of Marseille, France, to New York City. In a career spanning 40 years, Sembene tasted the highs and the lows, only to re-invent himself with a powerful blend of documentary, French New Wave, and Realism, creating films that shocked the sociopolitical power structures of the day. Classics like Xala, Black Girl, and Moolaade established his cinematic vision and made him an international emissary who presented the inner lives of his people on film.

Told by those who knew him best and with fascinating archival interviews, Sembene! constructs a revealing portrait of a curious, cantankerous, and deeply intellectual artist. Sembene promoted a new vision of Africa, and his films injected that vision into the world. Sembene! is a testament to the power of story, highlighting how it can plant a seed of thought that crosses generations." H.C. (Sundance 2015, USA)

Festivals / Awards

  • 2015 | Sundance Film Festival
    Documentary Forum Participant
  • Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program 2009
    Fund recipient (GRANT)

Samba Gadjigo, the director of the documentary Making of Moolaade, is the world’s foremost expert on the life and work of Ousmane Sembéne and author of Sembéne’s official biography. He was born and raised in Senegal and is professor of African Studies and French at Mt. Holyoke College.

Jason Silverman is an award-winning film producer and longtime festival director. He is currently Cinematheque Director at the Center for Contemporary Arts, Santa Fe, and former Artistic Director of the Taos Talking Picture Festival

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