Abderrahmane Sissako (born October 13, 1961 in Kiffa, Mauritania) is an award-winning film director and producer who has often worked in Mali and France. Sissako is, along with Ousmane Sembène, Souleymane Cissé, Idrissa Ouedraogo and Djibril Diop Mambety, one of the few filmmakers from Sub-Saharan Africa to reach a measure of international influence. His film Waiting for Happiness (Heremakono) was screened at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival official selection under Un Certain Regard, winning the FIPRESCI Prize. His 2007 film Bamako received much attention. Sissako's themes include globalisation, exile and the displacement of people.
Soon after his birth Sissako's family emigrated to Mali, his father's country, where he completed part of his primary and secondary education. Sissako returned briefly to Mauritania, his mother's land, in 1980. Then he left for Moscow, where he studied cinema at the VGIK (Federal State Film Institute) from 1983 to 1989. Sissako settled in France at the beginning of the 1990s. In addition to feature films and short films, Sissako has served on the jury of the Premiers Plans festival in Angers in January 2007, and on the jury of the Cannes Film Festival later in the same year.
- 1989 : Le jeu (The Game) (35mm, 23 minutes), end of studies project. Set in the Mauritanian desert and filmed in Turkmenistan.
- 1993 : October (35mm, 37 minutes), filmed in the suburbs of Moscow. Un Certain Regard prize winner at the Cannes Film Festival.
- 1995 : Le chameau et les bâtons flottants (The Camel and the Floating Sticks) (video, 6 minutes), adaptation from the fables of Jean de La Fontaine, filmed in Mauritania.
- 1996 : Sabriya (video, 26 minutes), part of the Arte series, African Dreaming. The action occurs in Tunisia.
- 1997 : Rostov-Luanda (video, 59 minutes), a documentary made within the framework of the art exhibition Documenta X (Kassel, Germany). Sissako searches in Angola for an old friend, a former guerrilla from the Angolan War of Independence, whom he knew as a student in Moscow 16 years earlier.
- 1998 : La Vie Sur Terre (Life on Earth) (35mm, 67 minutes), set on the last day of the millennium (commissioned for the 2000 Seen By... series featuring other directors such as Tsai Ming-liang and Laurent Cantet) and filmed in Sokolo, Mali, Sissako's father's village. Special mention of the jury at the 16th FESPACO in 1999.
- 2002 : Heremakono (Waiting for Happiness) (35mm, 90 minutes), fictional film inspired by the filmmaker's exile and brief return to his home in Mauritania in 1980. First Prize (Étalon de Yenenga) at the 18th FESPACO in 2003.
- 2006 : Bamako (115 minutes), images of Mali's capital: everyday lives, a trial implicating the International Monetary Fund and World Bank for global poverty, a film within a film starring Danny Glover. First recipient of the Film Award of the Council of Europe (FACE) at the Istanbul International Film Festival.
- 2008 : 8, a chapter in an anthology film consisting of eight short films each based on one of the Millennium Development Goals his Tiya's dream is based on goal to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger.
- Thomas Sotinel, « Abderrahmane Sissako. Pour en finir avec le cinéma du Nord », Le Monde, 21 octobre 2006, p. 19
- "Festival de Cannes: Waiting for Happiness". festival-cannes.com. Retrieved 2009-10-30.
- Abderrahmane Sissako at the Internet Movie Database
- Interview: Abderrahmane Sissako with Kwame Anthony Appiah
- Sight and Sound, Film of the Month: Bamako
- A Fragmented Epistemology: The Films of Abderrahmane Sissako
- Sissako YouTube Interview, 2007