2013 Edition

Moustapha Alassane

Moustapha Alassane

Animation Director- Niger

He is the first pioneer of animation cinema in the Sub-Saharan Africa.

Born in 1942, Alassan’s inception in Niger, which is one of the poorest countries in the world, was a challenge to him. In the mid-fifties of the twentieth century, he was impressed as a young man when he watched for the first time an animated film inside a travelling cinema in his hometown N’Dougou, north of Niger. This drove him to work hard to learn how to use the camera film through the tutoring experiences of the French Jean Rouch who took him as assistant in films he was shooting in Niger. Later on, Moustapha traveled to Canada with the help of John to learn the arts of motion pictures and especially animation with the teaching of Canadian Scottish animation genius Norman McLaren who founded the Canadian National Film Board in the fifties. There, Alassan directed his first short Wedding Marriage in 1962, followed by his first animated film The Death of Gandhi in 1963, that made the first sub-Saharan African who directs a film through that technique, and the second African following Egyptian artist «Aly Moheeb «who directed the film White Thread in 1962. His following iconic film was called Bon voyage Sim (1966) starring a frog called Sim as a ruler imitating African dictators. Moustapha Alassane’s films are marked by their cynical and sharp natures addressing sociopolitical issues and by their dare to experiment. In 1966, he directed The Return of an Adventurer, the first African film belonging to the Western genre. In 1972, Alassane directed his first long film Women Cars Villas Money, which addressed the issue of nouveau riche in his homeland and wealth changes human nature. The Great Samba was one of his most important outings because he used puppetries to tell the story of King Samba, ruler of Niger during the Middle Ages.Animation historian Giannalberto Bendazzi said about him: Alassane presented a very special cinema that might not impress many viewers. Sometimes, his films are curious and even naive. But we must know that this man has made his own camera and used whatever is available to carry out its work. It is his acquired right to say whatever he wants in order to present African from his own perspective. So far, Alassane has directed more than thirty films varying between animation, documentary and short and long fiction, where he did not went away from his homeland Niger, poor in resources, but rich in culture and myths. For fifteen, Moustapha Alassane has served as head of cinema department at the University of Niamey from which graduated new generations of animation pioneers like Oumar Ouganda, Moustapha Diop, and ,Djingarey Maïga. He received numerous honors from international festival, including Cannes 2007 where he got the Order of Merit from the French president for his leadership in African cinema, from Annecy International Animated Film Festival, from ASIFA 2009 as the most important animation artist in Africa. The latest honors were at Rotterdam 2013.

He participated as a jury member in many international animation festivals such as Zagreb, Stuttgart and Annecy.

LAFF will showcase a number of his films.