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Ellie Foumbi’s Our Father, The Devil Film Premiere's at Gotham Institute’s ‘Next Generation’ Program

Ellie Foumbi’s Our Father, the Devil
By: Taylor Lynn | Ellie Foumbi’s Our Father, The Devil Premiere's at Paris Theatre in New York | Cultured Focus

Venice Film Festival, Netflix & The Gotham Institute Partner in Support of Filmmakers for the ‘Next Generation’ Program at New York’s Paris Theater

Ellie Foumbi’s Our Father, the Devil premiered at the opening night of Venice Film Festival’s Next Generation Program moderated by Nikyatu Jusu. The event, which runs from April 20 to 23, kicked off welcoming crowds to the historic Paris Theater in New York. The six films in the program include: Beautiful Things (2017) by Giorgio Ferrero and Federico Biasin (award winner at the CPH:DOX in Copenhagen),The Cathedral (2021) by Ricky D'Ambrose (winner of the John Cassavetes Award at the Spirit Awards), The Fits (2015) by Anna Rose Holmer (winner of the Someone to Watch Award at the Spirit Awards), Hotel Salvation (2016) by Shubhashish Bhutiani (winner of various awards at international festivals), This Is Not a Burial, It's a Resurrection (2019) by Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese (nominated for an Oscar in 2021 for Lesotho), and Our Father, The Devil (2021) by Ellie Foumbi (nominated at the Spirit Awards).

Cultured Focus Magazine was in attendance as Foumbi’s film kicked off the entire extravaganza Thursday night, April 20th, 2023. The Our Father, the Devil screening included opening remarks from Venice Film Festival Director Alberto Barbera and Head of Programs Savina Neirotti to celebrate 10 years of Biennale College-Cinema.

Foumbi is a director, writer, and actor which makes her a triple threat. She was joined by producer Joseph Mastantuono center stage during opening remarks. Our Father, the Devil is her first feature film as a director — a major milestone for any artist. With the support of the Venice Biennale College-Cinema, she is now a member of that elite group of filmmakers whose work has appeared at the Venice Film Festival, among other prestigious film festivals.

The film follows an African refugee who lives in a French mountain town. Her life is changed forever when a new Catholic priest arrives, a man she knows as the warlord that murdered her entire family.

It’s a gripping tale that weaves together history and deeply human moments, captured with stunning confidence by a director with a promising future. See highlights from the discussion below.

The Paris Theater was a grand setting to premiere the film. It is the oldest single screen arthouse venue in New York City, opening in 1948. When it was set to close in 2019, Netflix stepped in and funded its renovation and return to prominence.

The Venice Film Festival’s Next Generation event showcased work by creators from the historic Biennale College-Cinema, an incubator for emerging filmmakers that began in 2012. Every year, the program selects 12 feature-length projects to support, bringing together directors working on the first or second film and producers who are beginning their careers. Over the course of a two-week workshop on the island of San Servolo, four projects are chosen to receive a €200,000 grant. The films also receive a world premiere at the Venice International Film Festival.

(Photos: L-R: Albero Barbera, Producer Joseph Mastantuono and Director Ellie Foumbi, and Savina Neirotti)

The Next Generation retrospective was a joint program between the Biennale College-Cinema, Netflix, and the Gotham Institute. It highlighted the importance of supporting artists early on in their journey.

Foumbi’s Our Father, the Devil is an example of the kind of work that might have never been created without such support. It is a powerful, important film from a unique perspective. Thanks to the ongoing funding of the Biennale College-Cinema, we can expect more talented filmmakers from many backgrounds to flourish.

For more on the director on Instagram:

Follow the film Our Father, The Devil here.

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