Rokhaya Marieme Balde
Senegal - Switzerland


Senegal, 1930s. After the polio epidemic strikes Dakar, Aline is forced to return to her village of Kabrousse where she is considered an outcast. Due to a drought, Aline’s family is unable to pay the rice tax imposed by the French colonial administration. Aline begins to have visions of the god Atemit, who seems to give her the karassah, the power to make rain. After summoning such rain, she is anointed high priestess by the Diola. Now, Aline encourages the villagers to resist France’s command to replace the traditional cultivation of rice with the more profitable farming of peanuts. Persecuted as an instigator, she surrenders to the French authorities to save her village.

1st feature

Seeland Filmproduktion(Switzerland)
Linda Vogel, Cyril Schäublin

Chantal Scheiner

Director’s statement

From my childhood, I was nurtured by the story of Aline Sitoé Diatta, which was embodied in brief in a framed photograph on our living room wall: “Heroine of Senegal 1926–1944”. My father taught me her story, our history: “history with a small h,” he said; “the history that too often falls into oblivion.”


Rokhaya Marieme Balde

Rokhaya Marieme Balde was born in Dakar in 1995, and began her studies in cinema at Sup Imax Dakar in 2017, having previously studied business in China and political science in Canada. She obtained a bachelor’s degree in directing from HEAD Geneva in 2020 and a master’s degree in scriptwriting from ECAL/HEAD in 2022. Her short films have been screened at international festivals such as the Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival, the Locarno Film Festival, the International Film Festival Rotterdam, and Visions du Réel in Nyon. À la recherche d’Aline, her graduation film, was nominated for a Swiss Film Award in 2022.

Chantal Scheiner
Chantal Scheiner

Chantal Scheiner was born in 1986, and studied business and literary studies in Berlin. Her first production, Salka Tiziana’s first feature For the Time Being (2020), had its premiere in the International Film Festival Rotterdam’s Bright Future Competition. In 2022, Scheiner joined Seeland Filmproduktion as a producer. She participated in the Cannes Producers Network in 2022 and in Berlinale Talents in 2023. For The Passion of Aline, she works as a team with Seeland’s founders—executive producer Linda Vogel and creative producer Cyril Schäublin.

Total budget

€2 100 000

Financing secured

€121 000

Partners attached

Swiss Federal Office of Culture, Zurich Film Foundation, Fonds culturel SSA, Red Sea Development Fund

Shooting period and locations

Winter 2025, Senegal

Expected delivery

Summer 2026

Other Projects in development