Abderrahmane Sissako was born in Kiffa, Mauritania, in 1961 and raised in Mali, his father’s homeland. When he returned to Mauritania in 1980, the emotional and financial difficulties of adjustment made him turn to literature and film. A study grant allowed him to attend the Institute of the University of Moscow. Le Jeu (1989), first presented as a graduation assignment, won the prize for best short at the Giornate del Cinema Africano of Perugia in 1991. In 1993, October was shown at Locarno and Un Certain Regard and won prizes the world over. His film Waiting for Happiness was screened at Cannes 2002 and was winner of the FIPRESCI award for best film in the Un Certain Regard section. It was also shown at the New York Film Festival in 2002 and won the Grand Prize at FESPACO in 2003. The overtly political Bamako (2006) looked at the the legacy of colonialism and the lopsided relationship between the first and third worlds. His 2014 film Timbuktu was selected to compete for the Palme d’Or in the main competition section at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival, garnered a 2015 Academy Award nomination for Best Foreign Language Film, and swept the 2015 César Awards in France winning seven awards, including Best Director and Best Film. Abderrahmane Sissako thus became the fist African director to be awarded the highest award in French cinema.