“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.
Following its 2015 Sundance Film Festival premiere, followed by screenings at Cannes, London, Sydney and other top international film festivals, the film was picked up for US distribution by Kino Lorber, and was released in November of the same year, starting with a fall theatrical run, in conjunction with key national festival engagements. It was followed by a Digital and home media release in 2016.
“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. The documentary unfolds over never-before-seen archival 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.
The film has been seen almost all over the world, in more than 100 countries, and has won numerous awards in the process. But, as the filmmakers note, it has yet to reach its intended audience: Africa. And so on June 9-11, the filmmakers will return this African story to Africa, in what will be the largest community screening in history, as “Sembene!” will show in 30+ African nations, with 90+ screenings, from major theaters to outdoor shows, across the continent.
But to accomplish this massive feat, your help is needed. The Ford Foundation and Sundance Institute have committed to supporting what could become a historic event, with your added support via the Kickstarter campaign the filmmakers launched to raise a $14,500 by May 24th. $5,863 has been raised so far, meaning another roughly $8,700 is needed to get them over the top. There isn’t a lot of time left, but $8,700 is a number that can be raised in the time that does remain until the campaign ends. So contribute if you can; and if not, certainly help spread the word by simply sharing this post. The more people it reaches, the better the odds the campaign has of reaching its goal.
Your support will pay for venue costs, shipping, local coordinators and marketing and publicity, the filmmakers state.
Watch the pitch video below and then head over to Kickstarter (here) to make your contribution (a trailer for the film follows as well).