From a media release:
Senegal at the OSCARS
The filmmakers toured Senegal with a mobile screen sharing the feature film Nafi's Father with audiences across their native country. Now, they're up for an Oscar.
Senegal only started submitting for the Oscars 3 years ago starting with Alain Gomis’ FÉLICITE that made it to the Oscar shortlist. This was followed by Mati Diop’s wonderful film ATLANTICS that was also shortlisted and now this year with NAFI’S FATHER. Directed by Mamadou Dia, the film was selected to screen at MoMA and won Best First Feature at the Locarno Film Festival and then went on to screen at a number of festival around the world.
Maba Ba, the producer of Nafi's Father talked about the experience in a media release.
“Bitter Sweet, in this case Sweet then bitter. Sweet at first because of course I was and still am thrilled and proud to be chosen to represent my country. That’s huge at any stage of one’s career but especially for a first feature. The bitterness came short after because as a fan of films I could not believe it was only the third submission from Senegal.
“I thought what about Djibril Diop Mamebety, Ousmane Sembene, Moussa Sene Absa and the few more great Senegalese filmmakers that had done it way before us. These are story tellers whose work is studied in reputable film schools around the world to this day. I am however hopeful, with more access to information and much better/cheaper technologies, Senegal should be able to keep making thoughtful, deep and meaningful human stories that hopefully resonate with the rest of the world and compete amongst today’s great storytellers.”
Nafi's Father – Best International Film
Senegal, 109 min
Writer/Director: Mamadou Dia
Producer: Maba Ba
Cast: Saikou Lo, Alassane Sy, Penda Daly Sy
In a small town in the northeast of Senegal, the local Tierno (Alassane Sy, “Mediterranea”), a religious leader qualified to be an Imam, practices a centuries-old homegrown version of Islam that adheres to Koranic scripture but also incorporates certain traditional animist practices.
His older brother, Ousmane (Saïkou Lo, “The Pirogue”), on the other hand, has fallen in with a fundamentalist sheikh from outside the region and is throwing money around to draw more people into his circle.
When he announces one day that his son, Tokara (Alassane Ndoye), will marry the Tierno’s daughter, Nafi (Aïcha Talla), the religious leader is taken aback, arguing that his daughter is too young; the real reason of course is he doesn’t want Nafi to fall into his brother’s orbit.