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DCA Archive


Samba Gadjigo and Jason Silverman

In 1952, Ousmane Sembène, a dockworker and fifthgrade dropout from Senegal, began dreaming an impossible dream: to become the storyteller for a new Africa. This 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.

Sembène! 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 material. A true-life epic, Sembène! follows an ordinary man who transformed himself into a fearless spokesperson for the marginalised, becoming a hero to millions.

We are delighted that co-director Jason Silverman will be joining us after the screening for a Q&A, hosted by Dr Leshu Torchin, director of the Centre for Film Studies at the University of St Andrews.

Please note that Sembène! is 1h29m in duration, not 2h42m as stated in our printed guide.