Western media portrayal of “poor Africans.”

Jeremy Teicher, Director of TALL AS THE BAOBAB TREE:  s

I really strove to truthfully represent the villagers and their culture, countering the one-dimensional approach taken by many other media representations of rural Africans.  I wanted to avoid contributing to the “othering” of rural Africans…all the lingering, uncomfortable feelings of guilt that I’d picked up from the Western media portrayal of “poor Africans.”

Abdoulaye, our valued translator with Jeremy

My own feelings  with the villagers quickly shifted to respect—respect for their culture, their optimism, and their work ethic. Respect for the students, only a few years younger than me, who were pursuing a formal education against incredible odds. The contrast between my expectations and the reality I encountered was profound. The film shares this and I hope it will spark positive cross-cultural dialogue and help us embrace our shared humanity.

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