Dyana Gaye (Director and Writer)

15. September 2015
Dyana Gaye 1

42 Films by directors from five continents and 28 international guests (including filmmakers and activists from the USA, Jamaica, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands, France, and Germany) – all this is offered by the AFRICAN DIASPORA CINEMA film series, to be presented by FilmInitiativ Köln e.V. from 17 to 27 September 2015 in six locations across Cologne (Germany). 

We caught up with Dyana Gaye (Director and Writer) over email to discuss her movie „Des Étoiles“ (Under The Starry Sky), what inspires her and much more!


I just keep to explore and question themes, problematics, I’m sensitive at.

Dyana Gaye 2Interview with Dyana Gaye

Frolicious: This year you are not only patron at the African Diaspora Cinema you are also here to present your first feature movie „Des Étoiles“ (Under The Starry Sky). Are you excited to see how the audience will receive your work?
Dyana Gaye: It’s always exciting to meet a new audience. Every screening is more or less different but hopefully always brings out new perspectives. The film have been released in Germany by EZEF at the beginning of the year. I had the chance to premiered it in Frankfurt, Berlin, Munich with very interesting discussions. The film certainly echoes even more today considering the time with migrants and refugees situations, so I believe it will brings strong debates.

Frolicious: Please tell us about your movie.
Dyana Gaye:Des étoiles” is telling about Senegal nowadays but from its Diaspora’s point of view. As many of their countrymen, Sophie, Abdoulaye, Thierno and Mame Amy, are torn between Africa and the West, past and future, dream and reality, ancient culture and longing for freedom. The purpose of the film is not to judge the good and the bad sides of emigration, but to focus on destinies who most of the time are nothing more but statistics. These destinies, apparently separated, find an echo in each other, the same way as a constellation, which is nothing else than a pattern designed by several stars, which are thousand miles away from one another. This film is for me the opportunity to make a tribute to what we all are: just passing by.

Frolicious: How did the idea come up, what or who inspired you? 
Dyana Gaye: When I’m starting the writing process for a new fim, I do often try to find a link with the previous one. So for Des étoiles (Under the starry sky), I thought of Souki and Malick, two of the main characters of Un transport en commun (St Louis blues), the musical I directed just before. Souki was going to the funeral of his father while Malick was about to leave for Italy…I wanted to extend this idea of travel, moving, crossing, those trajectories we are writing which defines our lives. Working on the youth in movement, with a female character at the center (Malick as become Sophie) were some of the starting points. I co-wrote the script with Cecile Vargaftig a very precious and incredibly gifted collaborator for this complex script about three destinies in three different places.

Watch Trailer: Des Étoiles“ (Under The Starry Sky)

Frolicious: Your house is Paris however your movie are often shot in Dakar and not in your house. You said the reason is that you want to explore the part of your identity that lies in Senegal. Do you feel that being a creative person requires that you give back or tell a particular story of your life?
Dyana Gaye:
By creating, you are telling a story. It depends of each story/person but you definitely put something personal in any creation process. My family history finds echo in my work since the beginning. My father is senegalese. My mother is french-italian-malian-senegalese. I was born and raised in Paris but my imagination is definitely working in Senegal since my very first short. I’m not telling my story or my life through films. I just keep to explore and question themes, problematics, I’m sensitive at because of my history, my multiple origins and my education.

Frolicious: Your first time at the African Diaspora Cinema Event was in 2002. This year you are patron of the FilmInitiativ Köln e.V. How does it feel and what does it mean to you?
Dyana Gaye: I’m very honoured. I have a special history with this committed and passionated organization. In 2002, I was presenting my first short film Une Femme pour Souleymane  (A woman for Souleymane). It was one of my first time in a festival and also my first time in Germany. In its storyline, Des étoiles (Under the starry sky) is in a way an extension of this short. To come back to the festival as patron and with this first feature is a gift, drawing the beginning of which I hope a new cycle!


More Information:

African Diaspora Cinema – Dyana Gaye


presented by FilmInitiativ Köln e.V. from
17 to 27 September 2015 in six locations across Cologne (Germany)

Nancy Mac Granaky-Quaye

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