“Whether it’s DeMille, Hitchcock, the Senegalese filmmaker Sembéne … we’re all walking in their footsteps every day…” - Martin Scorsese
In 1952, Ousmane Sembene, a dockworker and fifth-grade dropout from Senegal, began dreaming an impossible dream: to become the storyteller for a new Africa.
Sembene! 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 battle to give African stories to Africans. The documentary 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 and one of the most committed feminists of the twentieth century, becoming a hero to millions.
Samba Gadjigo (co-writer, co-director, co-producer), the director of the documentary Making of Moolaade, is the world’s expert on the life and work of Ousmane Sembene and author of Sembene’s official biography. He was raised in Senegal and is professor of African Studies and French at Mt. Holyoke College.
Jason Silverman (co-writer, co-director, co-producer) is an award-winning film producer (Olympia, Shameless) and longtime festival director. He has produced large-scale events for the Smithsonian, the Lensic Center for the Arts, the Tribeca Film Festival and the Lannan Foundation. He is currently Cinematheque Director at the Center for Contemporary Arts, Santa Fe, and former Artistic Director of the Taos Talking Picture Festival.
Event co-hosted with the Centre of African Studies, University of London