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Mariama Sylla - Khady Sylla
The Diversity Award - A Single Word - Senegal
  
Mariama Sylla - Khady Sylla
Writers – Directors - Producers
 
A Single Word, a documentary by sisters Mariama and Khady Sylla, composes a rich travelogue of the oral history of storytelling customs in the West African Republic of Senegal where legend lives on through a culture that professes that 'no one dies until their name is never spoken again.' For this work of great cultural signifiance and importance, Mariama Sylla and Khady Sylla are honored with TheWIFTS Diversity Award. Mariama Sylla is a true product of the Senegalese cinema. Since the age of seven she has been walking in the steps of the film industry alongside her mother who worked at the Office of Cinematography in Dakar. Her passion for the cinema was triggered when in early 70s she watched films being projected on a white sheet by her mother in the family courtyard.

Sylla has been working as director and producer since the '90s and attended the Louis Lumière Institute in Paris where she received trainings in screenwriting, production and directing. Believing in and curious about the universality of cinema that takes into account cultural diversity, she has been making documentary and fiction films since 1996, mostly with her elder sister, the late filmmaker Khady Sylla.

Mariama creates movies that speak primarily about African society and to see their successful outcome is of paramount importance to her, she considers that making films is critical to the survival and cultural environment in many African countries, including Senegal. Mariama Sylla says: "We need, more than ever, to create pictures of our own to help our societies understand themselves, otherwise what the late poet Leopold Sedar Senghor predicted will happen to us: 'Those who do not get rooted before opening up will get lost.' It is vital we continue to fight for the representation of our own cinema and for it to fully emerge."


Teaser une simple parole

The sisters' close companionship led to the co-directed film, A Single Word, made in 2013 just before the death of the eldest, Khady, who passed on during the film's editing, and is honored posthumously. Together with her sister Khady Sylla, they upheld, and Mariama continues, the ethos of one and only one motto: "Create or perish," which urged them, and continues for Mariama, to make films with an "energy beyond comprehension."

Khady Sylla was born in Dakar and studied philosophy at the École Normale Supérieure in Lyon. She wrote two novels and directed the short film Jewels (96), and the features Colobane Express (99), An Open Window (05), and A Single Word (14).

Mariama Sylla's filmography includes: A Simple Word (Une Simple Parole) co-directed with Khady Sylla in coproduction with Aljeezera channel and AIF; Skirmisher Marc Gueye: My Pen, My Fight - Selection FESPACO Official competition and Ecrans Noirs (Black Screens); Behind The Silence, 52 minute documentary film OSIWA / Guiss Guiss COMMUNICATION Vues d'Afrique (views of Africa) and FESPACO selection, aired on TV5, CFI, RTS and the édition DVD Médiathèque des Trois Mondes (Three Worlds edition); Hors Série (Off Series)l, 17 minutes short fiction film Waka Film SA / Guiss Guiss Communication vues d'Afrique Selection, Hergla, Tarifa broadcast on TSR, TV5 ; Dakar Deuk Raw (Get Settled In Dakar And Be Happy) FESPACO 2009 documentary film selection, Dakar festival image et vie (lLfe and Picture), Bizarri Festival (Italy); The Silence Of The Forefather, in process, scenario prize at 2009 Pan-African Festival of Algiers and Make A Film on Paper workshop Prize in 2007 awarded by the Luce Institute.

The International Sales Agent for A Single Word is Guiss Guiss Communication, a Sénégalese based company. The company produces fiction and nonfiction (short and feature film) and experimental films. The company has already ongoing working relationships with international and national television stations such as Arte, TSR, France 2, RTS, Avro, RTBF ... and with national and international organizations such as OSIWA, CNLS, ACI, Geothe, La Francophonie.




 
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