Project Description

Safi Faye

Portrait of filmmaker Safi Faye

McMillan-Stewart Fellow 2020-21

Safi Faye was born in Dakar, Senegal, in 1943. She was a school teacher for six years before beginning her career in film, as an actress in Jean Rouch’s Petit à petit in 1971. Faye made her first films in France. Her first film, La Passante (The Passerby; 1972-1975), which she also acted in, was drawn from her experiences as a foreign woman in Paris. Revanche (Revenge; 1973), made collectively with other students in Paris, is about a madman who wants to climb the Pont Neuf, a bridge in Paris. In the 1970s she studied ethnology at the École Pratique des Hautes Études and then at the Lumière Film School. She supported herself by working as a model, an actor and in film sound effects. In 1975 she became the first sub-Saharan African woman to direct a feature film: Kaddu Beykat (Letter from My Village), winning awards at FIFEF (Festival International du Film d’Expression Française), FESPACO (Festival Panafricain du Cinéma d’Ouagadougou), and the Berlin Film Festival and through receipt of the Georges Sadoul Prize in France. In 1979, she received a PhD in ethnology from the University of Paris. From 1979 to 1980, Faye studied video production in Berlin and was a guest lecturer at the Free University of Berlin. She received a further degree in ethnology from the Sorbonne in 1988. Faye has directed many feature films, and today is recognized as one of Sub-Saharan Africa’s most prominent directors. Her 1996 film Mossane received the Un Certain Regard award at Cannes.

Related Posts