Monday, December 1, 2008


Pretty good news from Jason Silverman (

The New Mexico-based production company Galle Ceddo Projects is a recipient of one of the documentary film world’s most prestigious grants. Its work in progress SEMBENE: REVOLUTIONARY ARTIST (working title) is one of 20 documentary films selected from nearly 800 applications from 70 countries — and one of just six projects by first-time documentary filmmakers — to receive funding from the Sundance Documentary Fund.

SEMBENE, a film by Samba Gadjigo and Santa Fe’s Jason Silverman, revisits the life and work of the world’s greatest independent filmmaker, and follows Gadjigo’s attempts to connect his films with a new generation of African and African-American youth. The feature-length film is scheduled for completion in late 2009. Santa Fe’s Filip Celander serves as associate producer, cinematographer and post-production coordinator. The famed Senegalese novelist/screenwriter Boubacar Boris Diop serves as story consultant. Other Santa Fe participants include Business Manager Lacey Adams and editorial consultant Javier Hernandez.

Born in Senegal, Ousmane Sembene (1923-2007) almost singlehandedly invented what we now consider African cinema, creating 10 masterful films, including the Cannes-winning MOOLAADE. Gadjigo, Sembene’s chosen biographer, has spent more than a dozen years documenting Sembene’s life and career.

The documentary follows Sembene’s story from his birthplace, in the rebellious Casamance region of Senegal, to Dakar, then the capital of French colonial Africa, to the battlefields of World War II and post-war Marseilles, and back to Senegal. There, Sembene dedicated 40 years of determined, focused energy into making films and novels designed to reclaim African storytelling from the flood of colonial and post-colonial pop culture. After Sembene’s death, Gadjigo makes his own pledge: to spend his every spare moment keeping Sembene’s legacy alive. But will the YouTube generation — including Gadjigo’s two sons — put down their iPhones long enough to connect with their own African heritage?

The Sundance Institute Documentary Fund is a core activity of Sundance Institute’s Documentary Film Program, which provides year-round creative support to nonfiction filmmakers through creative Labs, work-in-progress screenings, Program staff and advisor consultations and artist-to-artist community. Proposals are accepted prior to deadlines twice a year, and submissions are judged on their approach to storytelling, artistic treatment and innovation, subject relevance and potential for social engagement. The Sundance Institute Documentary Program considers projects in the Development and Production/Post-Production phases. The film selection is juried by creative film professionals and human rights experts.

“The films funded in this round tell stories of perseverance and dignity in the face of our world’s greatest contemporary challenges,” said Cara Mertes, Director of the Sundance Documentary Film Program. “From journalists and lawyers who take on international war criminals, to a small American town confronting its own homophobia, nonfiction storytellers are leading us down new paths as we search for common ground.” Artists in this round are working in the United States, Tibet, The Democratic Republic of the Congo, Palestinian Territories, Ukraine, Nigeria, Iran, Romania, Chile, Senegal, Guantanamo Bay, India and Tanzania. For more information on the Sundance Documentary Fund, please visit

Other recipients from this round of funding, which Sundance described as its most competitive ever, include some of the documentary world's most acclaimed directors: Patricio Guzman (BATTLE OF CHILE), Tina DiFeliciantonio and Jane C. Wagner (GIRLS LIKE US), Macky Alston (THE KILLER WITHIN), Eric Daniel Metzgar (CHANCES OF THE WORLD CHANGING), Pamela Yates (STATE OF FEAR), Edet Belzberg (CHILDREN UNDERGROUND) and Thomas Allen Harris (TWELVE DISCIPLES OF NELSON MANDELA).

About the filmmakers:

Samba Gadjigo (writer/director) is the world’s foremost expert on the career of Ousmane Sembène. His biography Ousmane Sembène: Une Conscience Africaine (Homnispheres, Paris, 2007), which covers Sembène’s life from his birth in 1923 to the writing of his first book in 1956, will be published in English by the University of Indiana Press in late 2009. Born and raised in Senegal, Gadjigo joined the faculty of Mount Holyoke College in West Hadley, Mass., in 1986, and currently serves as chair of the French Department and also is a member of the African American and African Studies departments. Gadjigo has lectured widely on Sembène and on African cinema, literature and culture at institutions including Harvard and Brown universities. He is director of THE MAKING OF MOOLAADE, a documentary that was shown at film festivals and is available on the DVD of Sembène’s award-winning film MOOLAADE.

Jason Silverman (writer/producer) is co-founder of King Tomato Productions, for which he produced two award-winning films directed by Robert Byington (2008 Sundance Annenberg Fellow): SHAMELESS (winner, Great Plains Film Festival); and OLYMPIA (SXSW, Opening Night Film; Slamdance, Closing Night Film; Sundance Channel). He is currently Director of the Cinematheque at the Center for Contemporary Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and has curated programs and consulted for the Telluride Film Festival, Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, the Lensic Center for the Arts, SITE Santa Fe, the Bioneers Conference, the Museum of Fine Arts, Museum of New Mexico, the Santa Fe Opera, El Museo del Barrio and the True/False Festival. He is former artistic director of Taos Talking Pictures; has served as a panelist or juror at the SXSW and Sundance film festivals; and has served as a nominator for the Rockefeller Media Arts Fellowships and Creative Capital. He is a longtime contributor to Wired and Santa Fean magazines and has written for Utne Reader, the Austin Chronicle and Time Out New York. His collection of essays Untold New Mexico is used as a textbook at the University of New Mexico.

Filip Celander (Associate Producer) has extensive management experience in the film industry: film editor for the advertising firm Creative Response AB in Stockholm (2001-2003); owner of Motion Picture Services Company in Stockholm (2003-2005); supervising projectionist at The Screen in Santa Fe from 1998 to 2000; and is the Director of Digital Media and Educational Outreach at Santa Fe’s Center for Contemporary Arts. Additionally, he has worked as an editor, camera operator, aerial photographer, and director in several feature and short films, videos, commercials and music videos, both in Europe and the United States. Fluent in Swedish and English, Filip received his B.A., Moving Image Arts, at the College of Santa Fe (Magna Cum Laude) in 2000.

Galle Ceddo Projects, LLC is a New Mexico-based production company.

1 comment:

keshacoggins said...

The sundance institute documentary film program and the skoll foundation have partnered in a three year initiative to explore how independent feature-length documentary film can advance knowledge about social entrepreneurship.


Internet marketing