MÉBÉT

14 year old Njillan, one of the top students in her class, has just been awarded a government scholarship to pursue her secondary education. Excited to share this achievement with
her family, she is welcomed with bad news: Her father has given her away in marriage to Sengan, despite the protests from her mother.

Njillan is forced to let go of her dreams and fulfil her marital duties. She falls pregnant and faces complications while giving birth to her son, Modi. She doesn’t survive. Modi grows up and
is initiated into manhood by his grandfather, Njillan’s father. Now a man, he has the opportunity to carry forward the culture of child marriage or reverse the trends and protect his future daughters. He has an encounter with the spirit of his mother, telling her story and pleading him to break the cycle.

MÉBÉT tells the story of one girl’s attempt to turn the tragedies of the past into lessons for the future. It is a conversation across generations to deliver positive change. The film showcases
aspects of West-African culture to counter the negative narratives about the continent, and portray the reality of our journeys through stories of resilience and hope.

  • Ousman Jarju
    Director
    Darkness Under The Sun (2012); Calabash (2006)
  • Jama Jack
    Writer
  • Muhammed H. Mahoney
    Writer
    Darkness Under The Sun (2012); Calabash (2006)
  • Ousman Jarju
    Producer
    Darkness Under The Sun (2012); Calabash (2006)
  • Muhammed H. Mahoney
    Producer
    Darkness Under The Sun (2012); Calabash (2006))
  • Mariama Colley
    Key Cast
    “Njillan ”
    Hand of Fate (2013)
  • Jainaba T. Sarr
    Key Cast
    “Yadicon”
  • Sheik Tijan Sonko
    Key Cast
    “Bai”
  • Rohey Camara
    Key Cast
    “Bajen”
  • Project Title (Original Language):
    MÉBÉT
  • Project Type:
    Short
  • Genres:
    Drama
  • Runtime:
    33 minutes 34 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    September 25, 2019
  • Production Budget:
    2,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    Gambia
  • Country of Filming:
    Gambia
  • Language:
    Wolof
  • Shooting Format:
    HDV 1080/24fps
  • Aspect Ratio:
    16:9|1.78
  • Film Color:
    Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
    No
  • Student Project:
    No
  • The Gambia Premiere
    Serrekunda
    Gambia
    January 17, 2020
    The Gambia Premiere
  • African Women Arts & Film Festival (AWAFFEST)
    Dar es Salam
    Tanzania, United Republic of
    April 2, 2020
    Official Selection
  • Charlotte Black Film Festival
    Charlotte, North Carolina
    United States
    June 19, 2020
    Best International Film
  • Arts X SDGs Festival
    New York
    United States
    August 12, 2020
    Official Selection
  • Morehouse College Human Rights Film Festival 2020
    Atlanta
    United States
    September 24, 2020
    Official Selection
  • Social Justice Film Festival
    Seattle
    United States
    October 1, 2020
    Official Selection
  • Silicon Valley African Film Festival
    San Jose, California
    United States
    October 10, 2020
    Official Selection
  • Nominee: US Hollywood Intl Golden Film Award

    United States
    December 16, 2020
    Excellence in Social Conscience
  • Winner: US Hollywood Intl Golden Film Award
    Online Event
    United States
    December 16, 2020
    Outstanding Up and Comer Actress - Mariama Colley (Njillan)
  • African Movie Academy Awards
    Lagos
    Nigeria
    December 17, 2020
    Official Selection
  • Women of African Descent Film Festival
    Brooklyn, New York
    United States
    December 27, 2020
    Audience Choice Award
  • Short To The Point
    Bucharest
    Romania
    January 8, 2021
    Official Selection
  • Sweden Film Awards
    Stockolm
    Sweden
    January 20, 2021
    Finalist
  • Cinema Femme Short Film Festival Showcase

    United States
    February 1, 2021
    Audience Favourite Award
  • Long Story Shorts International Film Festival
    Bucharest
    Romania
    February 27, 2021
    Best Actress | Nominee: Best Director
  • Voices Rising Film Festival
    New York
    United States
    March 1, 2021
    Official Selection
Director Biography - Ousman Jarju

Ousman Jarju is a director, editor and screenwriter, with almost two decades of experience in producing, directing and editing TV commercials, programs, music video and other material for TV. He developed a passion for film and storytelling at a very young age and started acting on stage and writing skits on issues that affect young people in his community. He collaborated with his friend Muhammed Hakeem Mahoney to produce their first feature film, Calabash (2005), which he directed and acted as the lead character. Ousman took filmmaking courses at the London Film Academy (LFA), after which he wrote and directed a short film – Darkness Under The Sun (2012).

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

A sister and a dear friend of mine was forced into marriage as a child to someone she did not choose – in fact, she was too young to make a choice at all. She had to endure unimaginable pain and challenges during this period, but her resilience saw her triumph over all adversity.

MÉBÉT deals with a serious matter that continues to be a challenge in the lives of many young girls in The Gambia and all over the world. The motivation for child marriage in a lot of households and families may include economic challenges and/or a strong desire to uphold certain traditions and cultures.

We present this film in a way that values the good aspects of
our cultures and traditions, but going further to pose a crucial question: What happens to our community if all promising, ambitious and intelligent young girls are married off forcefully?

My sister and friend was lucky to come out of it alive and turned around her life to become an example of resounding success – many others are not so lucky!