IO CAPITANO: Senegalese Star Seydou Sarr’s European Film Awards Speech + U.S. Distribution News

Matteo Garrone’s critically acclaimed drama IO CAPITANO (ME CAPTAIN)—a 2023 Cannes Film Festival official selection—was shortlisted by the American Academy as Italy’s submission for the Best International Feature Film Oscar and is expected to make the final list of five nominees.

Additionally, the film’s U.S. distributor, Cohen Media Group, has set a nationwide theatrical rollout to begin on February 23, 2024.

The Wolof and French film—shot over 13 weeks in Senegal, Italy, and Morocco with non-professional actors—is based on true emigration stories from Africa to Europe.

The epic tale follows a teenage boy’s transformative journey from Senegal, as he and his cousin navigate the harsh realities of the desert and sea, confronting the complexities of human nature and a relentless fight for survival.

For his leading performance, Senegalese actor Seydou Sarr won the Marcello Mastroianni Award for Best Young Actor at the 2023 Venice International Film Festival.

The film was also nominated in two major categories (European Director and European Film) at the 36th European Film Awards, presented by the European Film Academy, which took place in Berlin, Germany, last month.

Seydou Sarr was present for the event representing the film, and he gave a short speech in its honor.

“This is the first time I’ve made a film, and it’s changed a lot of things in my life,” the young actor said. “This film is about immigration and I gained a lot of experience from it…”

Watch Sarr speak below, accompanied by an English translator. The clip ends with scenes from the film.