By Kamau Kariuki
Published May 9, 2014
Sports films from Africa are set to be screened across Scotland June 1-July 28, 2014 in the lead up to the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.
Boxing in Ghana, cycling in Rwanda, long distance running in Kenya, surfing in South Africa and football in Nigeria are some of the subjects in the 30-film touring festival dubbed Sports Stories from around the African Commonwealth.
Organised by Africa in Motion (AiM) Film Festival that conducts an annual African film festival in Scotland as part of the Glasgow 2014 Cultural Programme, the festival will travel to Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee, Inverness, Isle of Skye, Cromarty, Dumfries, Oban, Coll and Dunoon.
Film highlights include RISING FROM ASHES, a documentary following the journey of a group of struggling genocide survivors in Rwanda pursuing their dream of a national cycling team; THE ATHLETE, a fictional film about Ethiopian long-distance running legend Abebe Bikila who achieved Gold in the 1960 Rome Olympic Games; and STREET BALL, a documentary that looks behind the scenes of the euphoria during the 2010 World Cup in South Africa to tell the story of South Africa’s Homeless World Cup team.
Screening shall take place in innovative venues and contexts, including a series of African adventure films at the Glasgow Climbing Academy; a Film and Food Marathon at the Rennie Mackintosh designed House for an Art Lover in Glasgow, where three films from three different African countries will each be accompanied by a course representing that country; and a screening at Britannia Panopticon in Glasgow where the quintessentially British backdrop will be merged with a taste of Africa and the Caribbean through screenings and discussions exploring the legacy of slavery and the British Empire. Other highlights include bike-powered screenings at the Riverside Museum in Glasgow in collaboration with Take One Action Film Festival, and a screening at Glasgow Film Theatre of a documentary about a Tanzanian women’s football team, co-hosted by Glasgow City Ladies Football Club.
Shows are also set to take place in cinemas as well as outside of traditional screening venues through a pop-up cinema initiative, the AiM Shebeen Screen. In South Africa, ‘shebeen’ describes an informal drinking place in a township, and in Scotland it also refers to an unlicensed bar or pub. The AiM Shebeen Screen will replicate the way Africans watch films through an African-decorated mobile cinema. The AiM Shebeen Screen will travel to Dundee, Isle of Skye, Cromarty, Inverness, Coll and Dunoon, in addition to pop-up screenings in Glasgow and Edinburgh.
Most screenings are free of charge, or tickets can be purchased through the box office of participating cinemas.
“Sports Stories from around the African Commonwealth will explore African sports and culture through film. We believe our programme will increase the diversity of content brought to the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games and will help to contribute to a progressive inter-cultural dialogue through African films on sports. The tour will involve a wide variety of people from across Scotland, the UK and the wider African Diaspora and will strive to open up new audiences to the Games,” says Festival Project Manager Justine Atkinson.