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TIFF Women Directors: Meet Dyana Gaye

Interviews
by Melissa Silverstein
September 11, 2013 12:45 PM
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Under the Starry Sky

Dyana Gaye is a Franco-Senegalese filmmaker who graduated with a master's degree in film studies from the University of Paris 8. She directed the short films Une femme pour Souleymane (01); J'ai deux amours (05); Ousmane (06); and Saint Louis Blues (09), which played at the Festival. Under the Starry Sky (13) is her feature film debut.

Under the Starry Sky is playing as part of the Contemporary World Cinema program at TIFF.

Women and Hollywood: Please give us a description of the film playing at TIFF.

Dyana Gaye: Turin, New York, Dakar. Sophie, Abdoulaye et Thierno. Three destinies crossing each other's path, echoing one another, delineating a constellation of exile.

WaH: What drew you to this script?

DG: A series of books: Sabine and Griffin by Nick Bantock, some extraordinary correspondences that are inspiring me since my first short A Woman for Souleymane. With Cecile Vargaftig, my co-writer, we have started writing this script only by letters between the different characters. In time those letters have become script and dialogues.

WaH: What was the biggest challenge?

DG: Shooting in three different countries, with three different methods, in three different languages and a different cast for each part. Something like doing three films at the same time!

WaH: What advice do you have for other female directors?

DG: I'm sorry but I don't feel very comfortable with giving advice.

The only thing I could say that will bring us to your next question: don't let anybody put you in a box, the female director's box could be one!

WaH: What's the biggest misconception about you and your work?

DG: I'm French and Senegalese. Most of the time people want to put me in a box. The same for my films, are they French enough? Senegalese enough? They are certainly both (and more) because of my double culture and I assume it's my treasure.

WaH: What are the biggest challenges and or opportunities for the future with the changing distribution mechanisms for films?

DG: I'm a kind of old school and have a sort of resistance for this very complex matter. Hope it could be an opportunity for countries like Senegal who have no more theater to have films screened again. But this transformation is a lot of money I'm not sure they want to invest, leaving films to be seen only on TV...

WaH: Name your favorite women directed film and why.

DG: I will name two among others.

The Piano by Jane Campion, she is such a master in filming sensuality and desire.

Beau Travail by Claire Denis, for her very powerful way to film bodies and her choreographic direction.

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