Abderrahmane Sissako

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Abderrahmane Sissako
Abderrahmane Sissako.jpg
Born (1961-10-13) 13 October 1961 (age 54)
Kiffa, Mauritania
Nationality Mauritanian
Occupation Film director, screenwriter, producer

Abderrahmane Sissako (born 13 October 1961) is a 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 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,[1] winning the FIPRESCI Prize. His 2007 film Bamako received much attention. Sissako's themes include globalisation, exile and the displacement of people. His 2014 film Timbuktu was selected to compete for the Palme d'Or in the main competition section at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival[2] and nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.[3]


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.

Besides his work as a director, he also works as a cultural advisor for Mauritanian head of state Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz.[4]


Year Title Role Notes
1990 Sex et perestroïka Assistant director Directed by François Jouffa & Francis Leroi
1991 Le jeu Director & Writer Short
1993 Oktyabr Director & Writer Short
1995 Petite météorologie ou Sept histoires de temps Actor Short directed by Charles Castella
Molom, conte de Mongolie Production designer Directed by Marie-Jaoul de Poncheville
1997 Africa Dreaming Director TV Series (1 Episode)
Documenta X - Die Filme Director Directed with Charles Burnett, Harun Farocki and Aleksandr Sokurov
1998 La Vie Sur Terre Director, Writer & Actor San Francisco International Film Festival - Golden Spire
Fribourg International Film Festival - Ecumenical Jury Award
Fribourg International Film Festival - FIPRESCI Prize - Special Mention
Fribourg International Film Festival - Grand Prix
Panafrican Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou - Air Afrique Special Award
Panafrican Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou - INALCO Award
Panafrican Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou - Special Mention
Panafrican Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou - TELCIPRO Award - Feature Film
Taormina Film Fest - Silver Charybdis
Rostov-Luanda Director & Writer Documentary
Namur International Festival of French-Speaking Film - Best Documentary Award - Special Mention
2002 Waiting for Happiness Director & Writer Cannes Film Festival - Foreign Cineaste of the Year
Cannes Film Festival - FIPRESCI Prize
Buenos Aires International Festival of Independent Cinema - Best Film
Gijón International Film Festival - Special Jury Award
Namur International Festival of French-Speaking Film - Youth Jury Emile Cantillon Award
Panafrican Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou - Grand Prize - Etalon de Yennega
Paris Biennal of Arab Cinema - IMA Grand Prize
Nominated - Gijón International Film Festival - Grand Prix Asturias - Best Feature
Nominated - Namur International Festival of French-Speaking Film - Golden Bayard - Best Film
Abouna Executive producer Directed by Mahamat Saleh Haroun
2003 Le silence de la forêt Producer Directed by Bassek Ba Kobhio & Didier Ouenangare
Malenkie lyudi Producer Directed by Nariman Turebaev
2006 Bamako Director, Writer, Producer & Actor Lumières Award for Best French-Language Film
International Istanbul Film Festival - FACE Award
Festival Paris Cinéma - Audience Award
Daratt Producer Directed by Mahamat Saleh Haroun
2008 8 Director & Writer Directed with Jane Campion, Gael García Bernal, Jan Kounen, Mira Nair, Gaspar Noé, Gus Van Sant & Wim Wenders
Stories on Human Rights Director Directed with Marina Abramović, Sergei Bodrov, Shira Geffen, Jia Zhangke, Etgar Keret, Idrissa Ouedraogo, Pipilotti Rist, Walter Salles, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Jasmila Žbanić...
2010 Je vous souhaite la pluie Director TV Short
2014 Timbuktu Director & Writer César Award for Best Film
César Award for Best Director
César Award for Best Original Screenplay
Cannes Film Festival - François Chalais Prize
Cannes Film Festival - Prize of the Ecumenical Jury
Lumières Award for Best Film
Lumières Award for Best Director
Chicago International Film Festival - Best Director
Globes de Cristal Award - Best Film
African-American Film Critics Association - Best World Cinema
Jerusalem Film Festival - Best Feature
French Syndicate of Cinema Critics - Best Film
Grand Prix de l'UCC
Nominated - Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film
Nominated - Cannes Film Festival - Palme d'Or
Nominated - Satellite Award for Best Foreign Language Film
Nominated - Cairo International Film Festival - Best Arabic Film
Nominated - Louis Delluc Prize - Best Film
Nominated - Hamburg Film Festival - Art Cinema Award


In addition to feature films and short films, Sissako has served on the jury of the Premiers Plans festival in Angers in January 2007.


  • Thomas Sotinel, « Abderrahmane Sissako. Pour en finir avec le cinéma du Nord », Le Monde, 21 octobre 2006, p. 19
  • Samuel Lelièvre, « Les cinémas africains, Abderrahmane Sissako et les frontières du monde », CinémAction, no. 137, 2010, pp. 182–185.


  1. ^ "Festival de Cannes: Waiting for Happiness". festival-cannes.com. Retrieved 2009-10-30. 
  2. ^ "2014 Official Selection". Cannes. Retrieved 18 April 2014. 
  3. ^ "Oscars 2015". Oscars 2015: what will win best foreign language film?. Retrieved 4 February 2015. 
  4. ^ Abderrahmane Sissako, une imposture mauritanienne, Mondafrique, 20 February 2015.

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