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  Who's who
  Director Abderrahmane Sissako
  Actor Djolof Mbengue
  Director Moussa Sene Absa
  Actress Rokhaya Niang
  Director Mansour Sora Wade
  Actress Awatef Jendoubi
  Director Mahamat Saleh Haroun
  Director Idrissou Mora Kpai
A scene from Abouna directed by Mahamat Saleh Haroun of Chad
Inexperienced actors star in Mahamat Saleh Haroun's film Abouna

Director Mahamat Saleh Haroun

Born in N’Djamena in 1961, Mahamat Saleh Haroun left Chad 20 years ago during the country's fight for independance.

He fled first to Cameroon and then to Paris where he studied film-making. Following a stint as a journalist, he returned to the world of film in 1994, when he directed an award-winning short film Maral TaniƩ.

After making two documentaries, he made his first feature in 1999 entitled Bye Bye Africa, which won prizes in several international festivals.

His second feature film Abouna (Our Father) was shot in Chad and tells the tale of two young boys who go in search of their absent father.

The actors were almost all inexperienced, including the two young leads. Haroun has been particularly praised for his sensitive and insightful depiction of childhood.

Speaking to the BBC's Artbeat programme, he explained how he took his cue from the children themselves, even allowing the older boy to choose the younger one. "He told me he felt the boy could be his brother" says Haroun, "so I said OK, and it just worked".

There are no professional actors, no film technicians or cinematographers in Chad, and no private money for indigenous cinema. But this only makes Haroun more passionate about making films there.

Haroun believes that unless people see their own images on screen instead of those from Europe or America, there is what he likes to call “a colonisation by images”.

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