Burning in the Sun to Screen for Free

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Thu, 09/10/2009 - 20:00 -- Nick Dager

Rooftop Films Solar One The Green Edge Collaborative and IFP will present the World Premiere of Cambria Matlow and Morgan Robinson's feature documentary Burning in the Sun on Saturday September 19. There will be no charge for admission. Presented outdoors at a solar energy center this exciting documentary follows a young man’s quest to start a local business building solar panels in his homeland of Mali—the first of its kind in the sun drenched nation.  Burning in the Sun was a 2008 IFP Documentary Lab Selection and the screening will be part of the 31st Annual Independent Film Week. Burning in the Sun’s 
26-year-old hero Daniel Dembele is equal parts West African and European and looking to make his mark on the world. A chance encounter while managing a café in Europe convinces him to return to his homeland in Mali and start a local business building solar panels—the first of its kind in the sun drenched nation. His goal is to electrify the households of rural communities 99 percent of which live without power. Burning in the Sun tells the story of Daniel’s journey growing the shaky startup into a viable company and of the business’ impact on Daniel’s first customers in the tiny village of Banko. Taking controversial stances on climate change poverty and African self-sufficiency the film explores what it means to grow up as a man and what it takes to prosper as a nation. 

Founding a small business is something that is deeply embedded in American and European culture a topic to which many can relate. But most have never seen this universal kind of effort take place in Africa traditionally marked out by the media as the land of the starving the war ravaged and the hopeless. In this portrayal of Daniel who undertakes a familiar effort in an unfamiliar environment the filmmakers attempt to open the door to what is possible in Africa and update Western cultural awareness with a profound dose of optimism. For directors Matlow and Robinson Daniel’s work shatters notions of the need for African dependence on outside aid and embraces the view that ultimately it is Africans who will develop Africa in their own way. Throughout the film expert interviews and voiceover narration are omitted in favor of giving space to both Daniel and the people of Banko to tell their own story in their own words. 

Strikingly beautiful and a revolution of ideas Burning in the Sun is not a typical portrait of Africa. Independent Film Week www.independentfilmweek.com Rooftop Films www.rooftopfilms.com