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Mbye Cham is a Professor of Literature and Film in the Department of African Studies at Howard University, Washington, D.C. He attended the University of Dakar, Senegal and the University of Besancon in France before receiving his B.A. degree from Temple University in Philadelphia. He holds an M.A. degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo and a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin in Madison. In addition to numerous essays and chapters in books on African and Caribbean oral traditions, literature and film, he is the editor of EX-ILES: Essays on Caribbean Cinema (1992), and co-editor of Blackframes: Critical Perspectives on Black Independent Cinema (1988) and African Experiences of Cinema (1996).
Manthia Diawara is presently Professor of Comparative Literature and film, and director of the Institute of African American Affairs at New York University. He is internationally known for his teaching and scholarship. In 1998-99, he was awarded the PHI BETA KAPPA visiting lecturer fellowship; and in 2001 he was distinguished Professor at the School of Criticism (Cornell University). He has received grants from the Ford Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, ARTE/ZDF, and the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Arts. He has also served as distinguished lecturer at Princeton University, Harvard, Cornell, Stanford University, and the Ecoles des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (Paris). He has published articles on literature, film, and art in scholarly and popular magazines. He is the founder and editor of Black Renaissance/Renaissance Noire, a bilingual review that publishes essays, fiction, reviews and artwork relating to Africa and the Black Diaspora. He has published several books on Black culture, film, and literature including: African Cinema: Politics and Culture (1992), Black American Cinema (1993), In Search of Africa (1998), and We Won’t Budge (2003). Diawara’s documentary films include the widely acclaimed Rouch in Reverse (1995), Bamako Sigi Kan (2001) and Conakry Kas (2004).
Ousmane Sène is President of the West African Research Association (Senegal) and Professor of African Literature at Cheikh Anta Diop University in Dakar where he also serves as chairman of the English Department. Dr. Sène will coordinate local arrangements and other matters for the institute. He will also participate in two panel discussions in addition to serving as translator in others.
Boubacar Barry, Professor, Department of History, Cheikh Anta Diop University and fellow at CODESRIA, Dakar, is one of the leading and most respected historians and scholars of African culture. In addition to numerous articles and book chapters on contemporary African affairs, he is the author of such seminal works of history as Senegambia and the Atlantic Slave Trade (1997), Le Royaume du Waalo : Le Sénégal avant la Conquête (1985), La Sénégambie du XVe au XIXe siècle : La Traite Négrière, Islam et Conquête Coloniale (1988), Bokar Biro : Le Dernier Grand Almamy du Fouta Djallon (1976). Dr. Barry has held positions as Distinguished Visiting Professor at many universities in the US, Europe and Brazil. Dr. Barry will present a lecture on Africa, past and present, to provide a general background and context for a deeper understanding of film in Africa. He will conduct an afternoon discussion with participants to explore in more depth issues raised in his lecture and their relations to African film studies. Dr. Barry will also serve as an invaluable resource person on guided tours in and around Dakar.
Clyde Taylor, film scholar and literary/cultural essayist, is Professor at the Gallatin School and in Africana Studies at NYU. A leading scholar of African and African American literature and film, Taylor has published many influential texts and essays such as Mask of Art: Breaking the Aesthetic Contract – Film and Literature (1998), Vietnam and Black America and is the author of the script for Midnight Ramble, a documentary film about early Black independent cinema. He will deliver two lectures on African cinema and its relationship to African American independent cinema, as well as lead post-screening discussions.
Fatou Sow, Attached to the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) in Paris, Dr. Sow is among a first generation of researchers who have given a voice not only to their own nations, but also to women and the disadvantaged. She was one of a group of African and Canadian scholars who were among the first to study systematically the relationship between gender relations and the destruction and degradation of the natural environment in Africa, a subject that is prominent in many African films and novels. Dr Sow is also a leading figure in Senegalese cultural studies with acclaimed expertise in oral traditions and written literatures, especially by women, of Senegal and Africa. She will facilitate a session on gender, tradition and change in Africa today and the implications of these for creative practice. She will also be a panelist to discuss the film Xala by Ousmane Sembène.
Siga Fatima Jagne-Jallow is director of SISEAM Consulting Services in Banjul, The Gambia. She obtained a B.A. in English and French from the Spelman College and a Ph.D. at the SUNY at Binghamton with a dissertation the work of Mariama Ba, one of the leading African female writers. Her areas of expertise, research, writing and teaching include among others Women's Studies, Feminist, Cultural, Critical, and Post Colonial Theories, Africa and its Diaspora, Francophone and Immigration Literature, Gender and Development, Comparative Women's Studies, Society, Development and Change, Diaspora Studies, British Literature (19th and 20th Century) and Information Technology. In addition to her work as the director of SISEAM, she also works as a consultant to the Honors Program of the Spelman College, and is an advisory board member of ‘WAGADU”- a Journal of Transnational Women’s and Gender Studies. From 2000 until 2003, she was the regional representative of FEMNET in Nairobi, Kenya and she has been active as an adjunct professor at the Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, Canada. Dr. Jagne-Jallow will present a lecture on gender in African literature with a focus on women writers and their relationship to cinema. She will also be part of the panel discussion on the relationships between writers and filmmakers.
Samba Gadjigo is Professor of French and Francophone Literature at Mt. Holyoke College, and has written widely on African Literature and Cinema, particularly the work of Aminata Sow-Fall and Ousmane Sembène. Author of Ecole blanche, Afrique noire: l'image de l'école coloniale dans le roman africain francophone (1990) and co-editor of Ousmane Sembène: Dialogue with Critics and Writers (1993), Dr. Gadjigo is also the biographer of Ousmane Sembène and has just finished the first part of a two-volume work, Ousmane Sembène: La vie d’un artiste militant (Ousmane Sembene: the Life of a Militant Artist), as well as a documentary film based on conversations with Sembène in the course of the making of Sembène’s latest film, Moolade. Dr. Gadjigo will present a lecture on the work of Sembène as well as screen and discuss his documentary film.
Filmmakers and Writers (The majority of these also have expertise and in-depth knowledge of African oral traditions and written literatures, and we shall draw on these to inform our discussions)
Ben Diogaye Bèye, One of the pioneers of Senegalese cinema, Ben Diogaye Bèye is both a writer as well as a filmmaker. He did his film training in Paris, and through apprenticeship with noted Senegalese filmmakers such as Ousmane Sembène, Ababacar Samb and Djibril Diop-Mambety. Ben Diogaye Bèye is known for his earlier film, Les Princes Noirs de Saint Germain-des-Près (1972) as well as for his later works such as Un Homme Des Femmes (1983) and Moytuleen (1996). He has just finished a new film in 2004, Un Amour d’Enfant (A Childhood Love). Ben Diogaye did the research and wrote the original script of Thiaroye ‘44, a project directed later as Camp de Thiaroye by Ousmane Sembene and Thierno Faty Sow. He is an active member and leader in the Association of Senegalese Filmmakers. Ben will screen and discuss his film Un Amour d’Enfant, as well as take part in the panel on the relationship between writers and filmmakers. He will also accompany the group on a visit to the headquarters of the Association of Senegalese Filmmakers.
Boubacar Boris Diop, is today one of the most celebrated and important novelists and screenwriters in Senegal. He formerly served as technical adviser in the Ministry for Culture of Senegal and taught literature and philosophy in Dakar. He was also a journalist writing for various Senegalese newspapers as well as international publications like the Swiss daily newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung and other African monthly magazines in Paris before devoting himself to full-time creative writing. His work includes a novella Doomi Golo (written in Wolof), The Time of Tamango (1981), The Drums of Memory (2000), The Rider and His Shadow (1997) and the highly acclaimed Murambi, the Book of Bones (2000, on the genocide in Rwanda). He is also the author of several film scenarios and works regularly with noted filmmakers such Ben Diogaye Bèye (Un Amour d’Enfant) and Mansour Sora Wade (Ndeysaan: The Price of Forgiveness). Boubacar Boris Diop will take part in panel discussion on the relationship between writers and filmmakers.
Fatou Kandé-Senghor, is a Senegalese visual artist, documentary filmmaker, photographer, costume designer for cinema and educator in Dakar. A leading figure among young creative artists in Senegal today, she runs an art studio called Studio Waru in Dakar, an organization for gender and media technology, which grows out of an older center also in Dakar called Forut, dedicated to ‘new media technologies’ in the service of ‘social transformation.’ She studied in France and has done a lot of travelling around Africa and Europe. Studio Waru is a forum for young filmmakers and visual artists to share their talents within the African continent then with the rest of the world and to explore the potential of new media technologies to tell African stories. Her research and writing focus mainly on gender issues, culture, history and African cinema. In addition to screening and discussing her film Tara: Search for the Word, Kandé-Senghor will also serve as an invaluable resource person on guided tours in and around Dakar.
Gaston Kaboré, Born in Burkina Faso (formerly Upper Volta) and raised in the capital city of Ougadougou, Kaboré maintained a lifelong interest in his family’s rural heritage while pursuing studies that eventually led him to the Sorbonne in Paris. There he divided his time between pursuit of an advanced degree in history and his burgeoning interest in the cinema, fed in part by his interest in the representation of Africa abroad and by an encounter with the work of Senegalese director Ousmane Sembène. Kaboré returned to Burkina Faso in 1976 after completing film school in France and was named director of the Centre National du Cinéma. He also became a teacher at the Institut African d'Etudes Cinématographiques, where his screenwriting and filmmaking courses were augmented by his own early productions. His first feature, Wend Kuuni (1982), was the first full-length film to be made in Burkina Faso, and it launched a career that would by turns mix extraordinary artistic achievement—rewarded by major awards at international festivals (Etalon de Yenenga at FESPACO 1999 for Buud Yam) and a French César—with significant service to the field, especially as president of the Pan-African Federation of Filmmakers. Kaboré’s films are most often noted for his reclamation of the poetry and clarity of traditional African storytelling and for his singularly lyrical cinematic language. Yet the director has long insisted that his films—like those of other leading African directors—represent a “cinema of urgency,” engaged by the attempt to “profoundly explain today’s reality.”
Khady Sylla, Studied at the Ecole Normale Supérièure in Paris where she majored in philosophy. While in Paris, she also worked on literacy projects with immigrant workers. Khady Sylla currently teaches German at Cheikh Anta Diop University of Dakar, and is the author of three short stories and two novels. She has also written and collaborated on several projects for fiction films and documentaries, as well as adaptations for the stage. She is one of the few African female filmmakers, and her first work is a short film entitled Les Bijoux (1997), and her most recent work is a docu-drama, Colobane Express (1999). Khady will screen and discuss her film Les Bijoux, as well as take part in the panel on the relationship between writers and filmmakers.
Koyo Kouoh, Cameroonian-born art administrator, curator and critic, Koyo Kouoh was Coordinator of Cultural Programs at the Gorée Institute before becoming a Cultural Affairs Specialist at the US Embassy in Dakar. A well known and highly respected art historian, Koyo Kouoh has worked with the Dakar Biennale of Art, curated the Rencontres de la Photographie Africaine in 2003 and facilitated La Caravane de la Poésie, a Literature tour from Gorée to Timbuctu in 1999. Her publications include Flash Afrique! Photography from West Africa [Steidl, 2002] and Töchter Afrikas. Schwarze Frauen Erzählen , Co-authored with Holger Ehling. Koyo will facilitate a post-screening session on African women filmmakers. She will also serve as a resource person on guided tours in and around Dakar, as well as a liaison with the US Embassy in Dakar.
Mansour Sora Wade, is an internationally acclaimed filmmaker whose latest film, Ndeyasaan: Le Prix du Pardon (The Price of Forgiveness) is hailed as one of the best films from Africa in the last ten years. The author of numerous documentaries and short films adapted from various Senegalese oral narratives and legends, Sora Wade was also director of the Cultural Archives of the Ministry of Culture of Senegal between 1977 and 1985, and was responsible for collecting and preserving Senegalese oral traditions. He graduated in film studies at the University of Paris. Mansour will screen and discuss his film and will also take part in a panel discussion on the relationship between writers and filmmakers.
Moussa Sène Absa, Born in 1958 in Dakar, Senegal. He studied cinema in Paris and graduated in 1987. From 1985 to 1986, he acted in the theater and then in cinema with roles in Espionne et tais-toi by French director Claude Boissol, and Black by Nicholas Ribowski. An accomplished painter, he has also written screenplays, including Les Enfants de Dieu which won a prize at the Festival of Fort de France, Martinique in 1987. His first film was done in 1988, entitled Le Prix du mensonge. His other films, many of them award winning, include: Ca Twiste à Popenguine (1993), Yalla Yaana (1994), Tableau Ferraille (1996), Blues Pour Une Diva (1998) and Madame Brouette (Mrs. Wheelbarrow, 2003). Moussa will screen and discuss his latest film Madame Brouette. He will also host the group for an afternoon at his beachfront residence in the village of Popenguine.