Filmmaker of the Month: Aline-Sitoé N’Diaye

When did you decide to be a filmmaker and why?

I’d say it grew on me progressively through the years. I’ve always loved writing little stories when I was young, and drawing too. Around 13 years old I started to film my friends after school. We would make up stories, they would act in it, and I would edit them with music and effects. It was a lot of fun but I wouldn’t show those films nowadays haha ! Then, I began to want to know more about how movies were made. It was really fascinating to me and I wanted to elucidate this mystery. In high school, I chose to sign up to a cinema class, and after my graduation, I went to film school. So I think it reinforced around that time, when I was 17-18 years old, that I wanted to be a director.


How did you find out about Userfarm?

Online ! I was looking for the concept because some of my filmmaker friends told me about it. I thought this concept could be a good practice. And I found Userfarm.


You have participated in several projects with Userfarm and we find your signature in each video, how do you define your style?

I try to be as close as possible to the brief of each project, to make entertaining videos, sometimes funny, sometimes touching. I try to get close to the audience one way or another, and make them identify themselves. But if I have a specific signature, I couldn’t say !


Are there any films, directors, artists that inspire you in your work?

It’s always a difficult question to answer. Some people can very quickly state their favorite director or movie but I can’t. I do love some directors such as Terrence Malick, Clint Eastwood, Alejandro Iñárritu and so on… but for me, it’s the movie that matters, the impact it has on me, and I couldn’t classify them.

I am sensitive to all kinds of arts. Artists that I meet on a daily basis inspire me a lot whether they are dancers, writers, musicians, singers, photographers, painters.. Talented people inspire stories for me. But overall, when I am editing or writing alone, it is music- from classical, jazz, funk, or hip hop, that inspires me the most. I listen to music every day and everywhere.


Could you tell us more about Ceeb, the short film you created for Nespresso Talents 2019, First selected by the French Jury?

This one was very special to me. When the contest started I was shooting and editing another video for Userfarm so I didn’t think I’d have time for both. I kept thinking about it, and said to myself I could do something personal celebrating all my trips to Senegal. I had a lot of archives and I loved the freedom this particular contest gave to participants. It allowed me to go deeper into the emotion given to the film, into my personal life and into my artistic choices.

I grew up with different cultures which is always surprising to people, and my parents made sure we knew and cared about them. We discovered Senegal very young and kept on visiting the country, going to Vietnam is a plan too. Through food, meals, recipes from my parents and grandmothers, we feel more attached to our cultures. We value them, they are part of us. So the Nespresso theme “We are what we eat” felt really appropriate.

I uploaded the film with no intention of being selected, I think it was the only contest I did entirely for me, with parts of me. So when I received the call, it was a big surprise, it was 4:30 a.m (canada time) and it took me a few minutes to process it… Yep, I was going to Cannes!


How was your time at the Cannes Film Festival?

It was a rich experience in many ways. It was really nice to meet all the different winners from all the different countries, UK, India, New Zealand, France… It was hard to speak to everyone but it was a really supportive vibe. Also, It’s a cool opportunity for young people to spend time with people from different industries, to connect. Receiving feedback on my film was touching too, it allowed me to improve my confidence and be more positive about my work.


Photo credits: Roxane Quintin et Nicolas Mortier


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