Broadway Cinema

African cinema at Broadway

“Whether it’s DeMille, Hitchcock, the Senegalese filmmaker Sembène … we’re all walking in their footsteps every day.” – Martin Scorsese, 2012 Golden Globes

Ousmane Sembène, known as the father of African cinema, is one of the key figures of world cinema, and one of the most important African cultural figures of the 20th century, and yet his works—still relevant today—remain unknown to many.

Aya Distribution is presenting a UK-wide programme of Ousmane Sembène’s work alongside the documentary Sembène!, capturing the life of this prolific and essential filmmaker, supported by the BFI with National Lottery funding as part of its audience development work to bring the best international films and filmmakers to audiences across the UK.

The season will take place between October and December 2016 under the title Rebel With a Camera: The Cinema of Ousmane Sembène, including a screening at Broadway Cinema in Nottingham.

There will also be a special free seminar hosted at Broadway, led by a panel of experts focused on the work of Sembène, the making of the film Sembène!, cinema from Senegal and the exhibition of African cinema in the UK.


The new and highly acclaimed documentary Sembène! (screened at Cannes, Sundance, BFI London and Telluride film festivals), documents the important contribution Ousmane Sembène made to African and world cinema, using this to contextualise Sembène’s work. The film will be released across the UK alongside three of Sembène’s seminal films explored in the documentary: Xala, Moolaadé and Black Girl, each of which was in itself a key and groundbreaking work of world cinema.

Aya Distribution Project Director, Justine Atkinson, says:

‘Through rare archive footage and personal anecdotes, interweaved with beautiful animation and led by a personal voice-over by co-director Samba Gadigo (Sembène’s biographer), the film captures the essence of Sembène’s work, providing an honest portryal of ‘the father of African cinema’. We are therefore extremely pleased to bring this documentary to UK screens this autumn along with Sembène’s films.”

So far screenings are confirmed to take place in the following cinemas in October and November: Institute of Contemporary Arts (London), Ritzy Picturehouse (London), Picturehouse Central (London), Genesis Cinema (London), Phoenix Cinema (London), Home (Manchester), Broadway (Nottingham), Showroom Workstation (Sheffield), Tyneside Cinema (Newcastle), Alhambra (Keswick), Picture House (Leeds), Dundee Contemporary Arts (Dundee), MK Cinema (Milton Keynes), Glasgow Film Theate (Glasgow), Filmhouse (Edinburgh), and Chapter (Cardiff).


The season is supported by FORWARD, the leading African women led organisation working on the issue of female genital mutilation raised in Moolaadé, who supported the release of the film in 2004. They will present post screening discussions following selected screenings of Moolaadé. It is also supported by the Africa in Motion Film Festival in Scotland.

Co-director, Samba Gadjigo, who is also Sembène’s official biographer, and co-director Jason Silverman will be in the UK to take part in Q&As and discussions following selected screenings across the country. Selected screenings of Moolaadé will also be followed by discussions with leading expects from FORWARD UK on the topic of female genital mutilation in Africa.

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