TALL AS THE BAOBAB TREE supports universities, and Grade 7-12 classrooms. Join Georgetown, George Washington, Northwestern, Yale, Tulane, University of Maryland, Denison, Ohio, University of Minnesota, other universities and top private schools like Lakeside and Pingry.
- University and College: African studies, International Development, Women’s Studies.
- Middle and High school: Global Studies/Social Studies; World Languages; Language Arts.
- University and Public Libraries
“Tall as the Baobab Tree effectively unpicks the complexity of cultural change… In this moving and original film, we are gently guided to move the conversation past indignation towards constructive understanding, and to give a thought not only to human rights but to what change and economic progress feels like to those subject to development.”
WINNER Best Artistic Achievement at the Luxor (Egypt) African Film Festival for “successfully treating the subject of forced marriage.”
LEARN: THE REAL STORIES BEHIND THE MOVIE
Under the guidance of the director, a group of village students wrote, filmed, and narrated short video stories about their daily lives, hopes and challenges. Their stories inspired the movie and all available to watch online – click here to view the video gallery.
LEARN: THE REAL GIRLS
Like their characters in the film, Dior and Oumoul are sisters, first-generation students, and have both had their futures shaped by marriage at a young age. The director returned to the village to visit them in 2014.
Oumoul (Debo) the younger sister, was put into an arranged marriage and pulled out of school shortly after filming ended in August 2011 — however, she ran away from her husband-to-be’s family and insisted on continuing her education. She is still in school to this day.Dior, (Coumba), dropped out of high school during her senior year (just months after film shooting) and got married to a man from Mbour (the nearby city). Her first baby came soon after. Dior’s parents were very upset that she chose to get married before she finished her high school education.
Life can be stranger than fiction, but the honesty and courage these two sisters brought to their roles in Tall as the Baobab Tree is now serving to educate and inspire countless girls around the world.
LEARN: SPEAK TO THE DIRECTOR
My hope is that by opening up such an intimate window into village life, the film will move people to look past cultural differences and empathize with the story’s deep feelings of love, hope, and sacrifice. While many contemporary films coming from Africa draw attention to themselves through violence and sensationalism, my film is a peaceful story that seeks to bring people closer together through intimacy and honesty.
Jeremy Teicher, Director, age 22 just a few years older than the village students inspired him.
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.”
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.
Listen to Director Jeremy Teicher (London, 2012, )
Listen to Director Jeremy Teicher (San Francisco 2013).
Listen to music from the original soundtrack of the film by Jay Wadley here. World-reknown musician Salieu Suso performing the traditional 21 stringed Kora, the West African harp.