Tanzania, Netherlands, Singapore | 2009 | 86min | Swahili | English Subtitles | HD
- Göteborg International Film Festival 2010, International Film Festival Rotterdam 2010 (World Premiere)
- Singapore International Film Festival (Asian Film Competition)
Also titled: Kumbukumbu Za Mti Uunguao
“One can hope this work receives wide exposure because such a fresh outsider’s look at an African region is not common in world cinema. Together with Korean American Lee Isaac Chung’s MUNYURANGABO, this is most important quiet examination of lives outside our usual cinema experience.” Michael Campi
“A Singaporean director has made a movie in Tanzania. In Swahili. With a cast of non-actors. And it’s amazing. Kumbukumbu Za Mti Uunguao (Memories of a Burning Tree) is a multi-layered ensemble drama that cuts to matters of the heart and soul.” Wise Kwai’s Thai Film Journal
“With understated performances from non-professional actors speaking Swahili, the film gives a striking impression of urban African life without pushing violence, poverty or disease.” Ian Mundell, senses of cinema
Smith comes to Dar es Salaam to tie up some loose ends. He meets Link, a tourist guide, who agrees to help him. Along the way they are offered help by Abdul, a grave digger, and Toatoa, a metal scavenger, who themselves are searching for answers to their own journeys. Their search eventually leads them to realise that this is a never-ending journey of dreams and disappointments. With an ensemble cast of non-professional actors and an improvised script, this film is an homage to the road movie genre, where ultimately the road ends when you want it to end.
Country of production: Singapore, Malaysia, Tanzania, The Netherlands
Production Company: Paddy Pictures
Co-production Companies: Studio Shermano, 13 Little Pictures
Running length: 86 minutes / COLOR
Year of production: 2010
Original Format: HD PAL
Screening Format: HDCAM PAL or Digibeta PAL
Aspect Ratio: 1:1.85
Director: Sherman Ong
Writers: Sherman Ong with Peter Mbwago & Nkumi Hamis Mtingwa
Producer: Sherman Ong
Co-producers: Gertjan Zuilhof, Tan Bee Thiam
Cinematographer: Sherman Ong
Sound: Nkumi Hamis Mtingwa, Malto Tambi
Editor: Ming An, Kent Chan
Assistant Director: Peter Mbwago
Script Supervisor: Edgar Chatanda
Post-production Sound: Takuya Katsu
Camera Assistant: Malto Tambi
Fixer/Location: Link Reuben
Music: The ‘Tribute to Mardana’ Gang
Publicity Designer: Catherine Chia
Supported by: International Film Festival Rotterdam
Smith K. Kimaro
Abdul Khalfan Malaika
Khalid Saleh Bilal
Silvan N Mkude
International Film Festival Rotterdam (World Premiere)
Goteborg International Film Festival (World Premiere)
Singapore International Film Festival (Asian Film Competition)
Hong Kong International Film Festival
African, Asian & Latin American Film Festival, Milan
Sherman Ong is a filmmaker, photographer, visual artist and educator. Straddling fiction and documentary, his films have won awards in Singapore, Hong Kong, Greece, Italy, Indonesia and Malaysia.
He is an alumnus of the 1st Berlinale Talent Campus 2003 and has premiered works at Int’l Film Festival Rotterdam, Int’l Documentary Festival Amsterdam, Institute of Contemporary Arts London, International Electronic Art Festival VideoBrasil, the Mori Art Museum Tokyo, Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, the Martin-Gropius-Bau Berlin, and at the Venice, Singapore and Jakarta Biennale.
As of 2009, he has participated in Visual Arts exhibitions in Jakarta, Lithuania, Australia. He has recently contributed a new work for the Singapore Pavilion at the Venice Biennale 2009.
In 2010, he was commissioned by International Film Festival Rotterdam’s Forget Africa program to make Memories of a Burning Tree, a feature-length film in Swahili. At the festival, he also presented two other films: Flooding in the Time of Drought and a new short film, Tickets. Flooding in the Time of Drought was also presented at the Centre Pompidou in Paris this year.
Sherman is currently developing his fourth feature film, Betok, which has recently been selected for funding by the Hubert Bals Fund.
More information on Sherman can be found at www.shermanong.com
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