The director


Born on June 11th 1974 in Koudougou, Burkina Faso, Michel K. Zongo is a director, a cameraman and a scriptwriter. He followed a video-shoot training course at the Burkina Faso National Cinematography Center (CNC), an on-set and reporting cameraman training course at the Burkina Faso National Television (TNB), and a training course as first assistant operator at Cinédoc Films, a production firm in France.

From 2003 to 2008, he was responsible for the Interactive Debate-Cinema at Cinomade, an association based in Burkina Faso whose objective is to create and distribute tools to increase awareness, notably through the cinema.

After having worked as cameraman and assistant director for many films and different producers, among whom Christian Lelong in all his films since 2002, he writes and directs his first documentary “Sibi, l’âme du violon” produced by Les Films du Djabadjah. “Ti-tiimou (Nos sols)” follows, produced by Cinomade.

In 2010, with a partner he creates the firm Diam Production, a structure for documentary film production, that co-produces with Cinédoc Films his full-length documentary film “Espoir-Voyage”. This film was developed during an invitation from Cinedoc Films to a director/producer workshop, from October 2009 to June 2010.


2009: “Sibi, l’âme du violon”
Documentary,  26 mn, video. Production: Les Films du Djabadjah (Burkina Faso)
Special mention from the jury – FESPACO 2011




2009: “Ti Tiimou”
Documentary, 30 mn, video. Production: CINOMADE and RIBios (Burkina Faso)
Short-film Award – 8th Edition of the Terra Festival 2011 – Environmental Film Festival of Guadeloupe
Award for the Best African Documentary – 26th Edition of the International “Médias Nord Sud” Forum 2010, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso


- Why did you want to shoot this film?

Joanny, my older brother, suddenly left our family one morning in 1978. After 18 years away, during which we had no news from him, Augustin, a cousin come back from the Ivory Coast, told us Joanny was dead. To try to understand why my brother left when he was only 14, I decided to undertake the same journey as he did from Koudougou (Burkina Faso) to the Ivory Coast, to follow in his steps and find about his story.


- The question of emigration arises in your film. Could you tell us more about it?

Traditionally, in the Mossi culture, you must have left your village, experienced adventure and come back to become a man and an adult. A Mossi proverb says: “it is not the first-born who knows the elephant, but the one who went into the bush”, which means that it is the person who has traveled in search of adventure who knows about life.

In all forms of emigration, whether to the Ivory Coast, to Europe or elsewhere, there has always been a sort of misunderstanding between those who have left and those who have stayed at home, and whose vision does not always concord with the reality that emigrants experience.

It was to clear up this misunderstanding that I undertook to shoot this film.

- Your film is also a road movie, where the bus becomes one of the characters of the film…

Most buses going to the Ivory Coast have bus stations either situated at the corner of the street under a tree, or in front of a yard. These are not regular companies with the traditional ticket booth that we can see in all large towns.

Those trips are only organized for the “Paweotos “, emigrants in Moré language. In this type of company, the approach is more family orientated, as most of the passengers are recommended by a brother or an uncle, or know the driver well. You should not forget that no-one takes these buses by chance, and in this context, affinity and trust are the key words during the journey.

Overloading is accepted, and people do not mind stop-overs in order to wait for other passengers in all the towns and villages that the bus drives through.


- What have you finally gained from the shooting of the film?

In shooting this film, I got to know my brother Joanny. I now have the feeling that I know him well. Even if I could not put a face to his name, I think I have been able to make his soul exist, a very present one indeed. In Burkina Faso, the Ivory Coast has been for a long time the country dreamt of by many young people, to whom I also belong. In a way, the film has enabled me to accomplish this rite, this journey which I would call “journey towards adulthood”. I have the feeling that I have accomplished a mission.


Another interview about Michel .K ZONGO by Olivier BARLET on AFRICULTURE website

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