Head Juror / Director / Mali
The most influential living African director, Souleymane Cissé is a monumental figure in his home country of Mali, as well as the Black African film world.
He was the first Malian to study at the Gerasimov Institute of Cinematography (VGIK) and returned to direct his first short,
Les Cinq Jours D’une Vie
(1972). He continued directing beginning with
Den Muso (The Girl)
, and continued making films criticizing corruption in Mali, dealing with labor issues and student movements such as
Baara (The Porter)
(1978) and Finye (The Wind)
(1982). His fourth feature,
Yeelen (The Brightness)
(1987) was the first Black African film to be entered into competition at the Cannes Film Festival and received the Jury Prize.
All his films thereafter, from Waati
(1995) to O Ka
(2015) have been introduced at the
Cannes Film Festival. He was appointed as a jury member at the Cannes Film Festival in 1983, 2006, and at Venice Film Festival in 1996. Currently, he is the founder of the Union of Creators
and Entrepreneurs of Cinema and Audiovisual Arts of Western Africa (UCECAO), playing a central role in the African and global film scene. He is also the first Black African jury member to
be appointed to the Busan International Film Festival.