If you are a Man

15th september 2022

6:35 PM

International Contest

Short Synopsys:

The documentary film chronicles the life of Opio, a 13-year-old boy from Burkina Faso who works in the Perkoa gold mines to become economically independent and pay for his studies. Forced to ask his boss for a promotion to pay tuition at a vocational school, Opio is willing to descend into the mine’s underground tunnels, facing one of his greatest fears. Using long shots and wide area shots, the director succeeds in capturing the beauty and danger of the mines as well as Opio’s ease in juggling the pitfalls and risks of his job. Eventually, Opio, manages to raise the money he needs to pay for a term at the vocational institute but the film’s final moments see him return to his family of mining friends, a prelude to his ultimate fate.


Directed by: Simon Panay
Production: Loull Production, Moteur S’il Vous Plaît, Acacia Productions, Canal+ International
Editing: Thomas Marchand, Simon Panay
Cinematography: Simon Panay
Running time: 76
Country: France, Burkina Faso
Year: 2022
Contacts: n.isotta@udd.cl

Director’s statement:

In 2015, I discovered the world of gold mining by directing “Nobody Dies Here” in the illegal mine of Perma in Benin. The shooting was cut short by the authorities and all the team got arrested. While I was there, I met a child on the underground and his gaze stayed with me. I went back to Africa several years later to work on a photography project about child gold miners. While covering the Perkoa goldmine, I took a rest nearby the yaare (treatment center where they process the rocks from the underground to recover gold) and observed a group of youngsters working there. Opio was the youngest of the group. I immediately wanted to know more and I asked to spent time with him in order to tell his story…