"Born in Benin in 1967, Idrissou MORA-KPAI has a M.F.A. in Film Directing from Konrad Wolf University of Film and Television Art in Potsdam-Babelsberg, Germany. Between 1999 and 2011, he lived and worked in Paris as an independent documentary filmmaker and producer. From 2011 to 2012, he was an Artist-in-Residence at the Institute for Comparative Modernities at Cornell University and from 2012-2013 he was a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Art of the Moving Image program at Duke University.
Idrissou’s socially and politically engaged documentary films that he has directed and produced have been screened throughout the world and received numerous international prizes and awards. They are largely distributed in universities in Europe and North America and have been reviewed and analyzed in professional, academic, and popular publications.
"Si-Gueriki," his first project after graduation is an intimate and personal story about his return to his home village in Benin. In this film he attempts to establish a relation he never had before with his mother and thereby also learn about the rapidly changing role of women in rural Benin. Screened at numerous festivals, such as Rotterdam, Viennale, Cinéma du Réél Paris, and Margaret Mead Film Festival, “Si-Gueriki” received the Best Documentary award in 2003 at the Namur International Festival of Francophone Film Festival and was released in cinemas in France.
His second film "Arlit, the Second Paris" denounces the western multinationals' exploitation of Africa's raw materials, their disregard for workers, and the injustices and inequalities of North-South relations. Premiered at Berlin International Film Festival and screened, among others, at Sheffield and Durban, it won the Best Documentary at the Namur International Francophone Film Festival, the Best Documentary Award at the 15th African, Asian and Latin American Film Festival in Milan, Italy, and the Best Documentary Award at the Tarifa African Film Festival in Spain, and it was released in cinemas in Germany.
His most recent film, "Indochina - Traces of a Mother", released in 2011, tells the story of African colonial soldiers forcefully conscripted to fight for the vanishing French Empire in Indochina and the fate of their mixed-race children. It received the Documentary Film Award at FESPACO, the Pan-African film festival in Burkina Faso, a Documentary Film Award at the Festival International du Cinéma d’Alger dédié au film engagé, in Algeria and has screened among others at International Film Festivals in Busan (South Korea), Namur (Belgium), and Cannes (French Institute Screening).
Idrissou started shooting a documentary that narrates the struggles of a mother seeking justice for her son murdered in an act of ‘vigilant justice.’ By following her story, the film seeks to shed light on the failing justice system of post-colonial Benin, which is one of the factors that explain the recent increase of vigilant justice.
Having recently completed the screenplay of his first long narrative, "Corporal Ganda", a story inspired by the oral histories collected during his documentary “Indochina,” he is currently seeking funding possibilities".