Cannes: Documentary ‘Sembene!’ Bought by Kino Lorber

Kino Lorber has bought all U.S. rights to “Sembene!,” a documentary on the life and legacy of Ousmane Sembene, considered to be the father of African cinema.

The acquisition was announced in advance of the film’s screening as an official selection of the Cannes Film Festival. “Sembene!” premiered at Sundance in January.

The film is co-directed by Samba Gadjigo, author of “Ousmane Sembene: The Making of a Militant Artist,” and Jason Silverman. It tells the story of the self-taught novelist and filmmaker who fought a 50-year battle to give Africans the power to tell their own stories. Kino Lorber is planning a fall theatrical release in conjunction with key national festival engagements with digital and home media releases in 2016.

The Film Sales Company, which is also handling worldwide rights on the film, is in talks with foreign buyers about the film in Cannes.

Sembene’s “Camp de Thiaroye” won six awards at the 1987 Venice Film Festival and his “Black Girl” was awarded France’s Prix Jean Vigo. His last film, “Moolaade,” won the coveted Un Certain Regard prize at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival, as well as the Best Foreign Language film prize given by the National Society of Film Critics.

“Sembene!” was produced by Galle Ceddo Projects, Impact Partners, New Mexico Media Partners and SNE Partners, with major support from the Ford Foundation/JustFilms, the Sundance Institute, Cinereach and Francophonie.

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