Thursday, April 18, 2024

Senegalese Debut Top Award winners at Melbourne Film Festival

This year’s Melbourne Film Festival has drawn to a close with an awards ceremony that saw a whopping $300,000 AUD (over $191,000 USD) in prize money handed out across six categories.

The biggest individual award of $140,000 AUD (nearly $90,000 USD) was presented to the winner of the fest’s international bright horizons competition: “Banel & Adama,” an arresting debut feature by Franco-Senegalese filmmaker Ramata-Toulaye sy.

It’s a notable coup for a small-scale rural love story that turned heads — but won no prizes — when it premiered in competition at the Cannes film festival in may, and is still seeking distribution in the U.S and other major territories.

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Banel & Adama is a 2023 French-Malian-Senegalese romantic drama film directed by Senegalese screenwriter Ramata-Toulaye sy in her feature film debut. It premiered at the 76th Cannes film festival on 20 may 2023.

Shot on location in northern Senegal between May and June 2022, the movie is Ramata-Toulaye sy’s first feature film. The cast, composed of non-professional actors, performs in the Pulaaarr, a variant of the Fula language.

This very beautiful and rich in color fable tells us about a young couple who live in a primitive Senegalese village and apparently have been in love with each other since they were kids. Without knowing that, Banel is a desperate female rights activist for herself: she’s ambitious, rebellious, direct, honest and strong. However, Adama though sharing babel’s vision is more subjected by what customs dictate to him.

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