Filmmakers from Senegal IVLP

In April 2022, we hosted 9 filmmakers from Senegal through the U.S. State Department’s IVLP program, our first in-person delegation since 2020! It was especially exciting since they first met the YouthFx team through a virtual exchange program in October of 2021, and now they are finally able to travel in person! Senegal is often referred to as the birth place of African cinema. Other than Albany, they also visited Los Angeles and New York City during their trip in the U.S.

Our visitors started their itinerary with a welcome briefing at the Hudson Valley Community College with Dr. Jay Deitchman, Global Initiatives Coordinator and President Roger A. Ramsammy and toured the teaching studio with Professor Bob Katz of the Digital Media Department.

The filmmakers then met with Bhawin Suchak, co-executive director of YouthFx, and his team for an engaging discussion about empowering youth in filmmaking and digital storytelling. Debby Goedeke and the Albany Film Commission and Cameron S. Mitchell, a local independent filmmaker, told the story of how Albany became a hub for filmmaking.

From left: Mr. Ibou Gueye, General Director, EvenProd; Ms. Khadidiatou Sy, Showrunner, Marodi.TV; Mr. Momar Talla Kandji, Coordinator, Ciné Banlieue; Mr. Janilio Mendy Associate Producer and Co-founder, Guuy Production; Ms. Bigue Bob, Editor in Chief, Journal Enquête; Ms. Fatou Ndao Mbaye, Director of Communication, Dakar International Short Film Festival; Ms. Fatim Cisse, Owner, Proud’Action; Ms. Mame Woury Thioubou Head of Culture Desk, Le Quotidien; Catherine Rafferty Content and Engagement Producer at WMHT

On the last day, they visited WMHT for an awesome presentation of Bridging the Divide, an documentary exploring community healing through art centered on Troy’s Hoosick Street Bridge. We also arranged for the visitors to stop by Choice Films Inc. in Newburgh, NY to speak to discuss the business of independent filmmaking with managing partners Tony Glazer and Summer Crockett Moore.

In between professional meetings, the French speaking filmmakers enjoyed a delicious dinner and conversation with Professor Kevin Hickey, Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, who organizes the annual African Film Series and Aaron More, a local actor, playwright, and educator.

We look forward to many more visits coming up soon and we appreciate everyone who worked to make this program a success! Click here to see a list of films made by our visitors.