|CEE Animation Forum
Allah is not obliged
Allah n’est pas obligé
Birahima, a Guinean orphan of only ten years of age, tells the story of how he became a child soldier when he tried to join his aunt in Liberia with the help of four dictionaries and heavy irony.
When ten-year-old Birahima’s mother dies, he leaves his native village in Cote d’Ivoire, accompanied by sorcerer and cook Yacouba, to search for his aunt Mahan. Crossing the border into Liberia, they are seized by rebels and forced into military service. Birahima becomes a child-soldier. Fighting in a chaotic civil war alongside many other boys, Birahima sees death, torture, dismemberment and madness but somehow manages to retain his own sanity.
Since 1980, increasing tensions between freedmen and natives in Liberia have led to a civil war bringing the country to its knees. Many of these atrocities were perpetrated by child soldiers, a macabre whirlwind that has had a devastating impact on an entire generation of children traumatized by their own crimes. This is the terrible topic of Ahmadou Kourouma’s novel. The book immerses the reader in a terrifying conflict through the eyes of a kid named Birahima. It is a universal story tinged with dark humour. I wanted to make Kourouma’s novel into an animated film, both to show the terrible fate of child soldiers, and to transform this pacifist manifesto into a film that is both funny and dark. I grew up hearing tragicomic stories of my family about everyday life during the Lebanese civil war. In the book, I found the same epic stories of scoundrels. Child soldiers are often depicted as bloodthirsty killing machines. Here, they are simply human beings forced to adapt to survive.
This French director and artistic director won fame on the internet in 2013 with the illustration series RapPosters, available through a clothing line in partnership with the brand Quatre Cent Quinze, and sold at Chez Colette, Miami Art Basel, and Citadium. In the summer of 2015, he released Un Obus Partout, his first animated short film, produced by Caïman Productions and Arte, which won several festival awards, and a new illustration series called Pharapops made in
partnership with Citadium. In 2016, he directed the animated opening credits of Demain tout commence, a film by Hugo Gélin starring Omar Sy and Clémence Poésy. Zaven Najjar studied animation at ENSAD and cinema at the SAIC in Chicago. After graduating, he built a career as a commercial director, graphic designer, and illustrator, notably for the Arab World Institute, the Grand Palais, Cinema Paradiso, Arte, Canal+, IWC Schaffhausen, Baume & Mercier, and Roger Dubuis.
After a degree in Modern Literature obtained in 2008 at the Sorbonne Nouvelle, Sebastien Onomo joined INA (National Audiovisual Institute) where he graduated as a Master degree in audiovisual and digital production in 2010. It was at this time that he met Serge Lalou, producer and also the academic advisor of the Master in audiovisual production of INA and the latter asked him to join Les Films d’Ici as a producer. What he will, after a six month experience with the Belgian company Entre Chien et Loup (Diana Elbaum and Sébastien Delloye), he joined Les Films d’Ici in the goal to develop and produce feature films, and continue to produce TV documentaries.In 2015 he participated in the creation of the company Special Touch Studios, with Olivier Laouchez. With its experiences in the audiovisual and digital production, Sébastien brings its expertise to
various university and school programs like INA, La FEMIS, Les Gobelins, the University of Paris -Diderot 7 or the University Paris 3 Sorbonne Nouvelle. He is also an expert for CNC and regional funds. In 2017, he is appointed co-President with Aïssa Maïga of the french-speaking group within Unifrance. Among the twenty or so film and television films produced by Sébastien Onomo, we can mention Le Gang des Antillais (2016) by Jean-Claude Barny, Ebony by Moussa Touré, or more recently Funan by Denis Do, awarded in 2018 by the Crystal of the best animated feature film at the prestigious Annecy International Festival.
Country of production
Production companySpecial Touch Studios