Tunisian director scoops best documentary prize at US film festival

The film follows the problems of indigenous people seeking to preserve their identity and culture in the face of globalisation
Tuesday 08/06/2021
Tunisian director Abdallah Chamekh. (Facebook)
Tunisian director Abdallah Chamekh. (Facebook)

DALLAS--Tunisian director Abdallah Chamekh’s “The Sacred Woods” has won the best documentary feature at the African Film Festival (TAFF) in Dallas, United States. The 50-minute documentary screened in Afrikaans and French with English subtitles earned praise from judges.

The director follows the problems of indigenous people seeking to preserve their identity and culture in the face of globalisation. The spiritual master of an Ivory Coast village is struggling to keep alive the customs and traditions of community.

Many African villages in the country are witnessing change over time, yet, “Latt”, the spiritual master of the Boubouri village continues to adhere to teaching the customs and traditions of “the Celebration of the Generations.”

His attempt to preserve his ancestors’ legacy takes place at a time when the youth of the village show indifference to these cultural practices. Latt’s struggle to maintain the ancestral tradition is shown in the film as he faces a number of difficulties when passing the ceremonial habits of “the Celebration of the Generations.”

Poster of the film. (Facebook)

It is through his son and many young people that the master works at preserving the identity and customs of the Adjoukrou people and the Boubouri village in spite of the new generation’s disregard of the tradition and the cultural heritage it bears.

“The Sacred Woods” was produced in 2020 for the Aljazeera Documentary TV with the Tunisian production company Folk Stories as executive producer.

TAFF celebrates films and arts that either promote African culture, address issues affecting Africa and people of African descent or explore African landmarks and historic leaders.

This festival gives visibility to independent filmmakers and artists from around the world. It celebrates African culture through films that follow the socio-economic and cultural changes on the continent.