Poised at the outer edge of the modern world in a remote African village, Coumba hatches a secret plan to rescue her beloved little sister from an arranged marriage. Inspired by true stories, Tall as the Baobab Tree poignantly depicts a family struggling to find their footing at the edge of the modern world... where questions of right and wrong are not always black and white.
As intellectually intriguing as it is dramatically satisfying.
Tall as the Baobab Tree provides a window into another culture, delving deeply into some wide-ranging themes. Schools and universities use the movie to enrich their curriculum by introducing students to this unique voice from Africa’s young generation.
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Global Studies/Social Studies
Jeremy Teicher 2012
Tall as the Baobab Tree is about standing up for your beliefs and doing what you feel is right, no matter what. To me, the film speaks to the energy and idealism of youth while portraying a very stark and realistic world where change is two steps forward and one step back, where the invincibility of youth bends beneath the harsh realities of life – but is not stamped out.
Working in collaboration with local students from the village of Sinthiou Mbadane, Senegal, we set out to tell a story that captures the emotions of the traditional and modern worlds colliding.
My hope is that by opening up such an intimate window into village life, the film will move people to look past cultural differences and empathize with the story’s deep feelings of love, hope, and sacrifice. While many contemporary films coming from Africa draw attention to themselves through violence and sensationalism, my film is a peaceful story that seeks to bring people closer together through intimacy and honesty.
I really strove to truthfully represent the villagers and their culture, countering the one-dimensional approach taken by many other media representations of rural Africans. I wanted to avoid contributing to the “othering” of rural Africans…all the lingering, uncomfortable feelings of guilt that I’d picked up from the Western media portrayal of “poor Africans.”
My own feelings with the villagers quickly shifted to respect—respect for their culture, their optimism, and their work ethic. Respect for the students, only a few years younger than me, who were pursuing a formal education against incredible odds. The contrast between my expectations and the reality I encountered was profound.
Released by the Sundance Artists Services in 2014, Tall as the Baobab Tree has since circled the globe impacting millions of viewers by addressing the power of education and its life-changing consequences.
Inspired by true stories from director Jeremy’s Teicher’s Student Academy Award nominated documentary, a finalist in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ 38th Annual STUDENT ACADEMY AWARDS competition
Translated from the original Pulaar language, the movie is translated into English, French, Arabic, Chinese, German, Czech, Italian, Dutch, Spanish, Russian Portuguese and more.
TV5Monde Afrique – the station for 12 Million in 48 countries – distributed and featured Tall As Baobab Tree as part of a special programming event, festivals around the world have featured the film, Movies that Matter invited royalty to their screening and Girls Not Brides, the global partnership organization selected the film to headline their Global Meeting in Casablanca ,Morocco.
International Film Festival Rotterdam
Human Rights Watch Film Festival
Movies That Matter (The Hague)
BFI London Film Festival
San Francisco International Film Festival
Doha-Tribeca Film Festival
Montreal World Film Festival & more
WINNER BEST FEATURE NARRATIVE
Doha-Giffoni jury at Doha-Tribeca Film Festival, the largest international youth film festival welcoming youth from 45 countries.
WINNER SPECIAL JURY MENTION BEST ARTISTIC ACHIEVEMENT
Luxor African Film Festival, one of the most important festivals specializing in African cinema
WINNER BEST SCREENPLAY
Hell's Half Mile Film & Music Festival
CHILDREN'S RIGHTS AWARD
Osnabruck Film Festival Germany. International Film Festival
Proceeds from the movie have provided the students at the school where filming took place with:
school supplies for 500 students
school shirts for 500 students
a community heritage celebration