Souleymane Cissé 82 year-old Malian filmmaker will receive the Carrosse d’Or award on May 17 at Cannes in France.
The Carrosse d’Or – in reference to a film by Jean Renoir – celebrates filmmakers for “the innovative qualities of their work, for their audacity and intransigence in staging and production”.
He becomes the first African filmmaker since the Senegalese Ousmane Sembène in 2005.
“Director, producer, screenwriter, operator, he has become in a 50 year career the symbol of a creative freedom, both poetic and political, which makes him a herald of his continent and a monument of cinema throughout the world,” the SRF (Société des réalisateurs de films) said in a press release on Wednesday.
Souleymane Cissé was born in Bamako and began his studies in Dakar, before leaving to study cinema in Moscow.
In 1975, he shot “Den Muso (La Jeune fille)”, Mali’s first feature-length fiction film in the Bambara language, banned by the authorities.
Cissé won the Cannes Jury Prize in 1987 with “Yeelen” (The Light).
Twelve years later his film “Baara”, about a student uprising, won the Golden Stallion of Yennenga, the highest award at the Fespaco pan-African film festival.
The film “Waati” (Time) was selected for Cannes in 1995, while “Oka” (Our House) was featured among the special screenings at Cannes in 2015.
Cissé is also founding president of the Union of Creators and Entrepreneurs of Cinema and Audiovisual of West Africa, supporting the development of an economically viable African audiovisual industry.
Last year, a documentary about him, directed by his daughter, Fatou Cissé, was screened out of competition in Cannes.
The Cannes Film Festival will take place this year from 16 to 27 May, with Swedish director Ruben Östlund as president of the jury.