There's a New Hero in Town—His Name Is Sandale-man
Photo: Youtube

There's a New Hero in Town—His Name Is Sandale-man

These Senegalese filmmakers are making superhero cinema magic on a shoe-string budget.

The Sandale Man is a force to be reckoned with. Like the friendly neighborhood Spiderman, he protects and aids the people of Senegal from petty criminals and felons alike. Although the Sandale Man is often shown hilariously saving the day by slapping criminals upside of their heads or across town with his mighty sandals, he actually offers much more.

Distributed and presented by Sen Network, a YouTube Channel by local Senegalese filmmakers, La Légend de Sandale-man made its debut back in December of 2015. The creators' original intent was to create a mock-superhero film about a young hero whose special skillset is kicking butts with superhuman, sandal throwing accuracy and customized sandal weaponry. Yet the joke gained clout by many, receiving over 29k views on YouTube. The cast was soon featured on local tv news stations and BBC News.

Unlike Hollywood's Marvel and DC franchises, The Sandale-man films were not created on a big budget. Considering their limitations, Jean Jacques Toue, co-director of the Sandale-man films, and his fellow crew members, were still able to create stunning comic books to incorporate in the film, with an intro reminiscent of Marvel's trademark comic-book film intros, witty storytelling, and decent special effects. Most importantly, the Sandale-man is a beautiful representation of African producers coming together to both support one another and expand the Senegalese film and entertainment industry without waiting for outside assistance. They are a group of filmmakers who have decided to put the works of producers in Africa first and foremost.

As Toue put it in a recent interview with BBC News Minute, "We appreciate the film, Black Panther. It's beautifully written. But what bothers me, there are many African film producers but they don't benefit from the same support. We have to realize that sometimes we should favor our own productions instead of others."

Watch the first installment, La Légend de Sandale-man below. The sequel, Sandale-man 2: Arc du Révolutionnaire is now available on YouTube.

Zubaydah Bashir is a filmmaker and writer from South Orange, New Jersey. Follow her for updates on her latest editorials and film projects on Instagram @zu_thecute, or on her website.