The purpose of the African Women in Cinema Blog is to provide a space to discuss diverse topics relating to African women in cinema--filmmakers, actors, producers, and all film professionals. The blog is a public forum of the Centre for the Study and Research of African Women in Cinema.

Le Blog sur les femmes africaines dans le cinéma est un espace pour l'échange d'informations concernant les réalisatrices, comédiennes, productrices, critiques et toutes professionnelles dans ce domaine. Ceci sert de forum public du Centre pour l'étude et la recherche des femmes africaines dans le cinémas.

01 May 2012

Dyana Gaye: The Cinéfondation Atelier, Cannes 2012


Des étoiles, directed by Dyana Gaye (France-Senegal), is among the fifteen films selected for the Cinéfoundation Atelier (a workshop to assist the achievability of the film project).

In the Cinéfoundation Project Catalogue, Gilles Jacob, President of the Festival de Cannes and the Cinéfondation, details the goals and objectives of the Atelier:

By creating L’Atelier in 2005, our first objective was to select film projects varied in their themes, their geographical distribution and creative invention. The second was to ensure that these projects, each supported by a producer who has already gathered part of the funding, could be made quickly. The third was to limit the selection to 15 projects to ensure greater exposure for them and get the best results for everyone.
For this eighth edition 15 unique voices from 14 countries can be heard, from the newly-discovered director to the well-known filmmaker. The projects, carried along by independent producers, reflect their battle for the defense and illustration of a demanding and innovative cinema.

Biography of Dyana Gaye

Dyana Gaye was born in Paris in 1975. She majored in Film Studies at Paris 8 University. In 1999, she won the Louis Lumière-Villa Médicis grant for her script Une femme pour Souleymane, that she directed the following year. In 2004, she directed a musical one-shot-sequence film, J’ai deux amours for the project “Paris la métisse” and was a finalist for the Rolex Mentor and Protége Arts Initiative. In 2006, her film Deweneti received numerous distinctions all over the world and was nominated at the Césars 2008 for Best Short Film. In 2009, she directed the musical Un transport en commun, which premiered at the Locarno Film Festival and was selected in numerous festivals, such as, Sundance and TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival). She received for this film a second nomination at the Césars 2011 for Best Short Film. She is currently working on a stage adaptation of Un transport en commun for the season 2013-2014 of the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris.

The presentation of the project Des étoiles begins with a citation from the poem Sand and Foam (1926) by Khalil Gibran:

My house tells me, “Do not leave me, your past dwells here.” 
The road tells me, “Come, follow me, I am your future.” 
And I tell them, “I have no past, nor have I a future. 
If I stay here, there is a going in my staying; 
and if I go there is a staying in my going. 
Only love and death will change all things.”

Synopsis

Over one winter, through the cities of Dakar, Torino and New York, we follow the exiled paths of several interconnected characters. For her husband’s funeral, New Yorker Mame Amy returns to Dakar with her 19-year-old son Thierno, who takes his first ever steps on African soil. Sophie, 24-years-old, leaves Dakar for Torino to join her husband Abdoulaye. He is missing. Abdoulaye has just arrived in New York with his cousin through an organisation of clandestine migrants. As the days go by, their destinies begin to echo one another, through the diversity of the cities they are crossing, somehow all united under the same starry sky. 

Filmmaker’s intentions 

Des étoiles is a testimony on Senegal today as seen from its Diaspora’s point of view. As many of their countrymen, Sophie, Mame Amy, Thierno, and Abdoulaye are torn between Africa and the West, the past and the future, dream and reality, one’s ancient culture and their longing for freedom. The purpose of the film is not to judge the good and the bad in migration, but to rather focus on destinies often reduced to nothing more than footnotes and statistics. These destinies, though distinct, echo one another, the same way as a constellation, which is nothing more than a design shaped by several stars, are thousands of miles away from one another. This film is for me the opportunity to pay tribute to what we all are: just passing by.

(Photo of Dyana Gaye and text from the Project Catalogue of the Cinéfoundation)