Grand comme le Baobab builds on work I began in 2009, when I traveled to Senegal to direct an independent documentary short nominated for a Student Academy Award in 2011.
I worked with a teenager named Dior who shared a story about the girls in her village who are forced to marry between the ages of 8 and 12. As the first generation with access to formal education, Dior and her peers are divided between those whose parents sent them to school and those whose parents chose to follow the deep-rooted tradition of arranged marriage. Dior’s experience living between the world of school and the world of tradition deeply resonated with me. We worked together, along with some of the other students, to develop a fictional script that spoke to their personal experiences on the leading end of this cultural change. Through a narrative story, we felt we could most effectively capture the emotions of the old and new worlds colliding.
Grand comme le Baobab explores the tensions, quiet victories, and heartbreaks that come with this change.