The Vanishing

Rama Thiaw
Senegal - France - Switzerland - Denmark


The Vanishing retraces the dazzle and distress of my mother, Mariama, a Black Senegalese woman. For half a century, she lived a stormy life, politically embedded in colonialism, racism and misogyny in Africa and in Europe. Against all odds, she always chose liberty over submission and followed her own rules. With my camera, I am going to track the prints and threads she left behind; and through this same gesture express the seeds of my desire for cinema.

3rd feature

Boul Fallé Images (Senegal)
Rama Thiaw, Yanis Gaye
[email protected]


Films de Force Majeure (France)
Jean-Laurent Csinidis

Mira Films (Switzerland)
Vadim Jendreyko

Northern Souls (Denmark)
Marie Schmidt Olesen

Director’s statement

This film will be neither a biography nor an analysis nor investigation of unsettling evaporation. Rather, it will be a reflection on permanence and impermanence, and on cinema as well, which, to paraphrase André Bazin, preserves people in appearance.
The question that spawned this film is: What does a person leave behind?
What traces or imprints does a single life leave in or make on the world, besides memories? And what if our recollections consist only of the impressions made on a living memory that dissolves and modifies facts and reality? Which part of ourselves and our sojourn on Earth endures after our lives have ended?
This question led me to another line of thought, closely connected to the first: Why do people make art? More specifically, why have I “chosen” filmmaking?
In the landscape that is our collective memory, I shall hunt for my mother’s tracks. I shall map the trail that led me to cinema through the portrait that emerges.


Rama Thiaw
Rama Thiaw

Mauritanian and Senegalese writer, director and producer Rama Thiaw was born in 1978 in Nouakchott, Mauritania, and lives in Dakar. In 2010, she created the production company Boul Fallé Images. She is the author of the feature-length documentaries Boul Fallé, la voie de la lutte (2009) and The Revolution Won't Be Televised (2016), which won the FIPRESCI Prize at the Berlin International Film Festival, where it was presented in the Forum section, as well as the Jury Prize at the Carthage Film Festival, and went on to be shown in several other festivals. Since 2020, Thiaw has been a member of the selection committee of the Panorama section of the Berlinale.

Yanis Gaye
Yanis Gaye

Yanis Gaye is a French-Senegalese producer and cultural programmer. In 2015, he co-founded Goree Island Cinema, through which he acts as an editorial and artistic director and a producer. He is the director of the Goree Cinema Festival. In 2019, he joined the production company Boul Fallé Images as an associate producer.

Jean-Laurent Csinidis

Jean-Laurent Csinidis was born in 1981 in Marseille (France). In 2010, he created Films de Force Majeure, a production company focused on auteur films and international collaborations. He has produced or co-produced 25 films, most of which have been shown in Cannes, Berlin, Locarno, Venice, IDFA, Visions du Réel, Rotterdam, Cinéma du Réel, Annecy...

Total budget

€788 887

Financing secured

€153 718

Partners attached

CNC - development grant for feature film, Scam - writing grant, Hot Docs development grant, CNC Images de la diversité - development fund, CICLIC - development fund, Vision Sud-Est Award, Région SUD - development fund for international coproduction

Shooting period and locations

April 2022, Shooting in Europe (France, Switzerland, Germany) ; June, July 2022, Senegal, Mauritania ; production sessions in animation

Expected delivery

September 2023

Looking for

Broadcasters, distributors, fund representatives, international sales

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