JCU Department of Communications Presents SEMBENE!

Professor Kwame Phillips opens the screening of SEMBENE!

Professor Kwame Phillips opens the screening of SEMBENE!

On Friday, June 9, 2017, the John Cabot University Department of Communications presented a screening of the award-winning documentary SEMBENE!

SEMBENE! is a 2015 documentary co-written, directed and produced by Samba Gadjigo and three-time Sundance Documentary Fellow Jason Silverman. The film chronicles the life and works of novelist and director Ousmane Sembene, widely considered to be the father of African cinema.

John Cabot University was one of over 100 institutions that took part in the Sembene Across Africa project, a three-day series of free public screenings, house parties and free streaming of the documentary in honor of Sembene, who spent decades shaping a meaningful, visionary cinema for a newly independent Africa.

Sembene spent 50 years making films and writing books in a tireless attempt to reorient Africans with their culture after generations of colonization. But ten years after his death, he unfortunately remains unknown to most young Africans. The purpose of this continent-wide event was to celebrate Sembene’s message of self-empowerment, and return African stories to the African people.

Following the screening co-director Jason Silverman joined the attendees via Skype. He talked about the difficulties in creating the documentary, for instance in gathering the clips used in the film, and said that Sembene’s works are currently being restored to be presented to a wider audience.