By Joy Sapieka
Published March 24, 2014
The second edition of the annual Colours of the Nile International Film Festival (CONIFF) on the theme â€˜Lenses on African Renaissanceâ€™ is scheduled to run in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, March 24-31, 2014.
Opening the festival on March 24 shall be LIFE ABOVE ALL, a film directed by Oliver Smitz of South Africa.
The 2nd CONIFF is expected to highlight 48 African film offerings from around the continent, all of which will be African, East African or Ethiopian premieres from African directors or producers. There will be competitive categories for features, documentaries and short films, with ten awards being given out, including The Great Nile Award for Best Feature Film Director.
The feature selection of 11 films spans a number of debut features: Chika Anaduâ€™s B FOR BOY, Kenneth Gyangâ€™s CONFUSION NA WA, Soussaba Cisseâ€™s RUMOURS OF WAR, David Gitongaâ€™s NAIROBI HALF LIFE, Shams Bhanjiâ€™s ZAMORA; to the more established names of Lincino Azavedoâ€™s VIRGIN MARGARIDA, Moussa Toureâ€™s LA PIROGUE, Ntshaveheni wa Luruliâ€™s ELELWANI and Judy Kibingeâ€™s SOMETHING NECESSARY. The list is completed with NISHAN, the second feature from Ethiopian director Yidnekachew Shumete.
â€œThe festival provides an opportunity to showcase some of the latest films by African filmmakers in its competition sections and to introduce audiences also to older films that they may not have seen, out of competition, including a country focus this year inviting the audience to look back at some of the films from the post-Apartheid South Africa, a country which has had a very unique journey of renewal,â€ says June Givanni, the Artistic Director of the festival.
The line-up of seven impressive documentaries in competition includes two films from North Africa: BOUT DE VIE: BOUT DE REVE (Algeria/France) and BOXING WITH HER (Tunisia) presenting unusual and radical perspectives of the world. All the films in this section were made in the last two years. Here again, established names of Jean Marie Teno (LEAF IN THE WIND) and William Mbye (PRESIDENT DIA), rub shoulders with the rising stars such as Mati Diop and Lovinsa Kavuma; and Shannon Walsh and Arya Lalloo of JEPPE ON A FRIDAY fame.
The short films competition contains 14 works which were all made in the last 12 months and which provide a kaleidoscopic vision of images, sounds and stories of the continent that will provide audiences with a real treat. The section included five films which have resulted from the Focus Featuresâ€™ Africa First Short Film Programme: TWAGGA, SECURITY, ADAMT, KWAKU ANANSE, and BEREA.
The range of genres and styles presented in this category attest to the fact that the skills and ambitions of young filmmakers remain as varied and ambitious powered with a Renaissance vision and spirit.
In its country focus section dedicated to South African cinema in 2014, the festival has programmed a tribute to former South African President Nelson Mandela. Nelson Mandela: The Struggle Is My Life by the late African National Congress member Lionel Ngakane is one of the films to be screened in this section. Oliver Schmitzâ€™s HIJACK STORIES and MAPANTUSLA, Zola Masekoâ€™s DRUM and Madoda Ncayiyanaâ€™s IZULU LAMI are the other films screened in the South African Focus together with a documentary by David Forbes, THE CRADOCK FOUR.
The non-competitive section of the festival, Best of the Rest, includes a retrospective of the works of Nigeriaâ€™s Newton Aduaka and an important â€˜Mockumentaryâ€™ by Camerounian director Jean-Pierre Bekolo that sets a challenge to spirit of Renaissance (THE PRESIDENT). The feature KINSHASA KIDS by Marc-Henri Wajnberg and three engaging documentaries CREATIVITY IN EXILE; JOY, ITâ€™S NINA; and MESSAGES BY MUSIC that are linked in their expressions of migration and pan Africanism, complete the out-of-competition section.
â€œOur selection captures the shifting paradigm in African cinema that is brought forward by extremely talented young African filmmakers. At the same time the festival upholds and celebrates the extraordinary work of established names of African cinema. This flavour opens a new window to dive into the captivating yet unexplored world of African cinemaâ€ says Abraham Haile Biru, Founder and President of the festival.
CONIFF is organised by Blue Nile Film and Television Academy in partnership with Ethiopian Filmmakers Association.