Born in Mauritania in 1961, Sissako grew up in Mali and moved to Moscow to study at the Federal State Film Institute, VGIK. His early work October (1993), a medium-length black-and-white film, was screened in Un Certain Regard at the 1993 Cannes Film Festival. After moving to France in the early 90s, he directed Life on Earth (1998), which was invited to Cannes Film Festival's Directors' Fortnight. Waiting for Happiness (2002) won the FIPRESCI Prize at Un Certain Regard. He returned to Cannes with Bamako (2006), an outdoor courtroom drama, in which the Malian people accuse the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) of harming their economy. Timbuktu (2014), screened in the competitive section of the Cannes Film Festival, is described as a brilliant portrait of a people traumatized by division. It was Mauritania’s first entry to be nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the 2015 Academy Awards, and it won seven César Awards in France, including Best Director and Best Film. Sissako, whose work offers serious narratives about the realities facing Africa, is one of the few film personalities from the Sub-Saharan Africa to be considered as one of the world’s leading filmmakers.