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Into the Light

Gentille M. Assih
2020 | 79 min 46 s
Original French version with English subtitles

Long Description

Director's Note

Interview with the filmmaker on the NFB blog





Gentille M. Assih
Photo : Nicolas Nault

Gentille M. Assih

Writer-director Gentille M. Assih received university training in communications and human resources before studying writing and documentary filmmaking. She earned her master’s in film from UQAM in 2013.

In 2009, she directed her first documentary, Itchombi, produced by Ardèche Images Production. That same year, she produced and directed the short drama Bidenam, l’espoir d’un village with the support of the Goethe Institute of Johannesburg; the film won the Jury Prize at the Vues d’Afrique International Film Festival in Montreal. In 2010, she made the documentary Akpéma, which laid the groundwork for Le rite, la folle et moi (The Rite, the Madwoman and Me). This film tells the story of a family secret that’s passed on, exploring the weight of tradition and the complexity of African cultures. Released in 2012, Le rite, la folle et moi won numerous awards, including the audience choice award for best documentary film at the Festival Cinémas d’Afrique d’Angers in France.

In her work, Assih turns an intimate lens on her subjects and fearlessly shines a light on taboo topics. While her camera remains unflinchingly focused on social issues and injustices, her sensitive writing conveys a distinctly positive vision of humanity.

Nathalie Cloutier
Producer and Executive Producer
Photo : Liam Valdès

Nathalie Cloutier

In 2018, after 15 years at the NFB, Nathalie Cloutier was appointed Executive Producer of the French Program’s Documentary Studio. She has always championed a flexible creative process and supported a diverse group of auteurs, an approach that has yielded a number of bold endeavours. At the NFB, she’s produced several interactive projects, including Here at Home: In Search of the Real Cost of Homelessness, a multi-award-winning website about homelessness, and The Hole Story Interactive, a website that accompanied the feature-length doc of the same name by Richard Desjardins and Robert Monderie. In addition to her work on interactive productions, Nathalie has produced and co-produced numerous feature-length documentaries that have garnered attention both in Canada and internationally. They include The Amina Profile by Sophie Deraspe (Sundance 2015), Gulîstan, Land of Roses by Zaynê Akyol (Doc Alliance Selection Award, Locarno 2016), Freelancer on the Front Lines by Santiago Bertolino (closing film at RIDM 2016), and A Delicate Balance by Christine Chevarie-Lessard (Women Inmates’ Award, RIDM 2018). She also produced Waseskun, by Steve Patry, a Best Feature Length Documentary nominee at the 2017 Canadian Screen Awards. In collaboration with Nadagam Films of Val d’Or, in Quebec’s Abitibi-Témiscamingue region, in 2018 she launched the 5 Shorts Project, for which five local female directors each made a very short documentary for the web. Her most recent productions are Kenbe La: Jusqu’à la Victoire by Will Prosper, Le fond de l’air by Simon Beaulieu and Far from Bashar by Pascal Sanchez.

Nathalie Cloutier first came to work at the NFB as a production coordinator in 2003. After completing the documentary program at the Institut national de l’image et du son (INIS) in Montreal, she returned to the NFB as a producer at the Documentary Studio in 2010. Earlier in her career, she studied arts and literature and collaborated on several theatrical productions. Her experience directing short films for the 1998–1999 season of the Radio-Canada television program Course destination monde inspired her to pursue a career in film.

Colette Loumède
Executive Producer
Photo : NFB

Colette Loumède

Colette Loumède began her career at the Coop Vidéo de Montréal, a group that’s had a significant impact on Quebec cinema. Alongside Robert Morin, Lorraine Dufour, Jean-Pierre St-Louis, Louis Bélanger and others, she learned about every aspect of the film industry long before becoming the veteran producer she is today.

Currently working at the French Program Documentary Studio at the National Film Board of Canada (NFB), Loumède is known for producing documentaries that stand out for both their subject matter and artistry. The films she’s produced have screened at many of the world’s top festivals, including Hot Docs, CPH-Dox, the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA), the Berlin International Film Festival, the Rotterdam film festival, Visions du réel, Sundance, and the Rencontres internationales du documentaire de Montréal (RIDM).

Loumède’s work is driven by a desire to produce work with meaningful content directed by auteurs who tackle the important issues of the day. She’s worked with Luc Bourdon, Jean-Claude Labrecque, Serge Giguère, Richard Desjardins, Patricio Henriquez, Hugo Latulippe, Paule Baillargeon, Céline Baril, Benoît Pilon, Carole Laganière, Zaynê Akyol, Claude Demers, Jean-François Caissy and many other contemporary Quebec directors.

Over the course of her career, Loumède has collaborated with a wide range of groups and people. She was responsible for analyzing documentary projects for SODEC, Quebec’s public film-financing body, and founded and led the documentary program at the Institut national de l’image et du son de Montréal (INIS), Quebec’s foremost professional cinema training institute. She is actively involved with the Documentary Network, RIDM and other festivals across multiple genres, and has regularly served on panels, juries, and many domestic and international platforms devoted to promoting auteur documentary.


Photo : © NFB
Christiane Eméssé Kafui Zanou
Photo : © NFB
Aïssata Cissé
Photo : © NFB
Chouchou Pyalo Assih
Photo : © NFB
Aïssata and Christiane
Photo : © NFB
Christiane and her sister
Photo : © NFB
Photo : © NFB
Steve Patry // NFB
Photo : © Steve Patry // NFB
Christiane and her father
Photo : © NFB
Photo : © NFB
Chouchou and her family
Photo : © NFB
Photo : © NFB

Promotional Materials

Graphic design


With the participation of
Christiane Eméssé Kafui Zanou
Aïssata Cissé
Chouchou Pyalo Assih

Produced by
Nathalie Cloutier

Researched, Written and Directed by
Gentille Menguizani Assih

Director of Photography
Steve Patry

Mathieu Bouchard-Malo

Sound Recording
Lynne Trépanier

Sound Design
Marie-Pierre Grenier

Production Manager
Andrée-Anne Frenette

Additional Sound Recording
Pierre Beaulieu
Julien Fréchette
Simon Plouffe

Ronin Operator
Amine Sahed

Production Assistant – Togo
Tchassim Toussin

Technical Support – Editing
Pierre Dupont
Isabelle Painchaud
Patrick Trahan

Mélanie Bouchard

Translation and Subtitling

Online Editing and Colourization
Yannick Carrier

Dialogue Editing
Ariel Harrod

Nicolas Gagnon

Foley Recording
Geoffrey Mitchell

Jean Paul Vialard

Original Music
François Cloutier

Additional Music

“Elle n’a pas vu”
Composed and performed by Charlotte Dipanda

“Chéri ton disque est rayé”
Composed and performed by Patience Dabany

“Quelqu’un laisse quelqu’un prend”
Composed by Wilfried Privat Tetchi Ossohou, Stéphane Eric Tetchi Akpe, Yannick Martial Kouassi, Jean Luc Hervé Yoman Yoro
Performed by Bénédiction

Music Copyright Clearance
Sylvia Mezei

Thanks to
Abalo Kougbamokou
Cedric Assignon
Grace Assignon
Dr. Célestin Badjagbo Koffi
Awumey Edem
Marie-Josée Zanou
Thomas Zanou
Vital Zanou

Thanks also to
Moussa Adou
Léonie Amouzou
Alexis Ange
Ayité Atayi
Justine Djelou
Philomène Dote
Rachel Isidkenu Gbadamassi
Perpétue Hounsinou
Rodlyne Jean
Emlor Jeanne
Pallo Manaa
Patron Mandjadéou Assih
Marie-Ève Talbot
Vinh Tang
Tindane Thomas
Ariane Turmel-Chénard
Audrey Yelle-Béland
Kossiwa Zinsou

Embassy of the Togolese Republic in Canada
Clinique PhysioExtra
Direction nationale de la cinématographie du Togo
Garderie Les Libellules
Paroisse Sacré-Cœur Junior de Tokoin Est à Lomé

Legal Advisor
Christian Pitchen

Press Relations
Marie-Claude Lamoureux

Marketing Manager
Judith Lessard-Bérubé

Marketing Coordinator
Jolène Lessard

Sia Koukoulas

Studio Coordinators
Pascale Savoie-Brideau
Gabrielle Dupont

Production Coordinators
Pascale Savoie-Brideau
Chinda Phommarinh
Coralie Dumoulin
Joëlle Lapointe

Technical Coordinator
Mira Mailhot

Line Producer
Mélanie Lasnier

Executive Producers
Colette Loumède
Nathalie Cloutier

Press Relations

  • About the NFB

    The NFB is Canada’s public producer and distributor of award-winning documentaries, auteur animation, interactive stories and participatory experiences, working with talented creators across the country. The NFB is taking action to combat systemic racism and become a more open and diverse organization, while working to strengthen Indigenous-led production and gender equity in film and digital media. NFB productions have won more than 7,000 awards, including 12 Oscars. To access this unique content, visit NFB.ca.