Ibrahima Barry is a Senegalese filmmaker whose work has been shown at the Cannes Film Festival. He sat down with Right for Education to talk about his work and his latest film Diembering: terre en péril (Diembering: Endangered Land)
R:Ed: Could you tell us a little bit about yourself and your work?
My name is Ibrahima, my birth name, but people call me Ibou. I am a Senegalese filmmaker and director. My passion began through a film club that promoted young filmmakers and trained a lot of filmmakers. It became my passion and I dropped out of school, which caused problems with my parents who were paying for my studies. They wanted me to be on this given path, but my passion is cinema, so I devoted myself to it.
R:Ed: Which directors have inspired you the most?
Well, the film that inspired me the most was one by Djibril Diop Mambety: Le Franc. But I also watch films that are not African films. It’s more fictional films than documentary films that have inspired me.
R:Ed: How did you get into film?
It was in 2019 that I started working on professional sets. You know, it’s hard to find work as an assistant director so I started as a production manager on the set of a short film. After that I was able to find work as a second assistant director and I worked on a French feature film here in Senegal. Currently I am the third assistant director for a Canal+ series project.
R:Ed: Did it help you to go through different jobs in cinema?
Yes, it did. First I did a training on screenwriting and then on directing. I did theory and at the same time practical workshops. You learn from the theory but you learn the most on set.
R:Ed: Can you tell us a bit about your documentary, Diembering Land in Danger?
It’s a documentary film that I started developing in June 2019. The film is about 15 minutes long and focuses on the climate change that has endangered this region. I’m from the south of Senegal, so it’s a story that comes from near my village. I knew the beach, which is six or seven hundred metres long, sandy and beautiful. But for some time there has been a significant deterioration. My profession is cinema, so through the images I spoke about these problems.
R:Ed: What inspires you?
I am interested in people and subjects. That’s lucky because filmmaking is not a job that you do alone. I am inspired by my daily life. I love culture, the culture of my country, the culture of the continent, and what surrounds me.
R:Ed: Will you focus more on fiction or documentary in the future?
I would say both. I’m a filmmaker, so I find interesting subjects and I follow them. I work that way. I’m preparing a short film at the moment. It’s the story of a sculptor who, through his sculptures, brings out what hurts.
R:Ed: Do you have any advice for other documentary filmmakers?
I don’t really believe in great advice, because I don’t know if it’s honest. You have to think for yourself. My only advice would be that young people should talk to filmmakers and should seek knowledge and to train themselves. Knowledge is the most important thing.