By Natalia Palombo
Published September 26, 2010
With ‘Celebrations’as its overall theme, this year’s festival will showcase films from some of the 17 African countries celebrating 50 years of independence, alongside a range of festive themes filling the 16 days of the festival, including a focus on African music and dance, sport, ceremonies, environmental progress, food, fashion and beauty, Mandela, children and youth, and poetry.
The festival opens with the Scottish premiere of Chadian director Mahamat-Saleh Haroun’s delightful and light-hearted satire SEXE, GOMBO ET BEURRE SALE/Sex, Okra and Salted Butter, (2008). In early 2010, Haroun’s extraordinary talent was rewarded with the Jury Prize
at Cannes for his latest film, UN HOMME QUI CRIE/A Screaming Man.
Cameroonian filmmaker Jean-Marie Teno, one of Africa’s preeminent documentary filmmakers, will be present at the festival to introduce audiences to some of his most influential films and lead a masterclass for film students at the Edinburgh College of Art. Teno has been producing and directing films on the colonial and post-colonial history of Africa for more than 20 years and his films have been honoured at major world film festivals, such as Berlin, Toronto, San Francisco and London.
Alfred Muchilwa, an animator from Kenya, will attend the festival and lead an animation workshop for Scottish children. The main focus of Muchilwa’s animation work has been on creating content with a strong African flavour that is accessible to a global audience. He is currently lead animator for Tiger Aspect’s Tinga Tinga Tales, East Africa’s first full animation production airing on CBeebies channel at the moment.
Several African music and dance documentaries will explore the diverse range of musical styles and genres from across the continent: Senegalese Sabar (KAAY FI) and Tanzanian Taarab (TUNE THE DRUM), Moroccan hip-hop (I LOVE HIP HOP IN MOROCCO), the rhythms and musical fusions from Cape Verde (KONTINUASOM), world-famous Congolese musician Papa Wemba’s musical extravagance (THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING ELEGANT), Sufi sounds and songs from North Africa (1001 VOICES), Egyptian muse Umm Kulthum’s musical legacy (UMM KULTHUM: A VOICE LIKE EGYPT), Angola’s electrifying Kuduro (KUDURO: FIRE IN THE MUSEKE), and colourful choirs from the Cape Peninsula (THE SILVER FEZ).
The best of contemporary francophone African cinema will be on display with the UK premiere of Congo-Brazzaville director Léandre-Alain Baker’s poetic film RAMATA, featuring the stunning French/Guinean supermodel Katoucha Niane who tragically drowned in the Seine River just after the film’s completion; Vietnamese/Guinean filmmaker Mama Keïta’s intimate thriller L’ABSENCE/The Absence), set in a dark and moody Dakar; Burkinabe director Dani Kouyaté’s urban coming-of-age comedy OUAGA SAGA; and Senegalese director Cheick Oumar Sissoko’s biblical epic LA GENESE/Genesis), featuring the celebrated Burkinabe actor
Sotigui Kouyaté (recently in LONDON RIVER–the father of Dani Kouyaté (he passed away in April 2010).
The emerging East African film industries will be represented by two brand-new feature films that are already generating a huge buzz: Ugandan Caroline Kamya’s IMANI, telling three separate stories and set in the Ugandan capital, Kampala, and the UK premiere of Kenya-based American Nathan Collett’s TOGETHERNESS SUPREME, a tale set in 170,000 people Kibera slums in Nairobi.
An evening dedicated to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, also celebrating 50 tumultuous years of independence, will shed some light on Africa’s ‘heart of darkness’, with young Congolese directors sharing their vision of their beloved country in Congo in Four Acts. This is shown alongside a screening of Fiona Lloyd-Davies’s hard-hitting BBC documentary, THE WORLD’S MOST DANGEROUS PLACE FOR WOMEN. Congolese human rights activist Judith Wanga, who features in the documentary, will be present at the festival to share her experiences with the audience.
A wide range of free events will take place across the city; an Afro-Scottish poetry afternoon at the Scottish Poetry Library, a dance workshop at Dance Base presented by London-based Zimbabwean choreographer and dancer Bawren Tavaziva, a painting on film workshop open to all ages and abilities, and an African fashion extravaganza in collaboration with Noir! and students from the Edinburgh College of Art, headlined by Nigerian designer NKWO’s free-spirited and nomadic designs, already featured on catwalks at New York Fashion Week.
Continuing the success of AiM’s Rural Scotland Tour in 2009, a selection of films from the 2010 programme will tour the Scottish Highlands and Islands throughout November 2010. Funded by Regional Screen Scotland and Awards for All, this exciting addition to the festival promotes African cinema among film-loving communities who have very limited access to African films.
Festival founder and director, Lizelle Bisschoff, says, “Africa in Motion is coming of age, and at the festival’s 5th birthday the diverse range of films from every corner of the continent also reflects the maturity of African cinema. From the best of contemporary francophone West African cinema, to a range of documentaries and fiction films from North and Southern Africa, and brilliant feature films from the emerging East African film industries, Africa in Motion 2010 certainly has something for everyone.
Noe Mendelle, Head of Film and Television at Edinburgh College
of Art, says, “Year after year AiM keeps confirming its original premise: to create a unique space to surprise, enjoy and reflect on the new cinema and film practices coming out of Africa.”
AiM is supported by a Board of Advisors consisting of film critic, writer and producer Mark Cousins; Professor Noe Mendelle, Head of Film and TV at the Edinburgh College of Art and Director of the Scottish Documentary Institute; Professor David Murphy, Professor at the University of Stirling and a leading scholar on African film; Professor Paul Nugent, Professor of Comparative African History and Director of the Centre of African Studies at the University of Edinburgh; and Dr. Andrew Lawrence, lecturer in African Politics at the Centre Studies at the University of Edinburgh.
AiM is funded by Creative Scotland; Commonwealth Foundation; Awards for All; and Regional Screen Scotland, with sponsorship from University of Edinburgh’s Centre of African Studies; Scottish Documentary Institute; University of Stirling’s School of Languages, Cultures and Religions; Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Edinburgh; Global Concerns Trust; Society for Francophone Postcolonial Studies; The Africa Channel; African Movie Channel; and Scotland Food and Drink.