Maami (2011) Tunde Kelani, Nigeria
London’s biggest annual African film festival is currently taking place across several different cinemas in London. The programme boasts 70 films from across the continent – 27 of which have never before been screened in London, and many of which (I’m thinking of Nairobi Half Life in particular) are eagerly anticipated. Beyond that, the festival hopes to create an open environment for debate and discussion in post-screening Q&As, and this year, more than 30 filmmakers will be in attendance. To add to the festival buzz are a programme of panel discussions, family activities, live music, art and professional workshops – including a scriptwriting class with Film Africa 2011 Silver Baobab winner and BAFTA nominee Rungano Nyoni (director of Mwansa the Great).
The numbers tell us a lot, not only about the ambition of the festival but about the passion for African cinema that drives its organisers to work flat-out to bring you some of the best films of the last few years.
By ‘celebrating African cinema,’ Film Africa aims to reflect the ‘wealth, diversity and quality of African cinema and African stories’. Taking place in venues across London (Hackney Picturehouse, The Ritzy, Rich Mix, Screen on the Green, the BFI Southbank and the South London Gallery) the festival hopes to reach as many different people as possible with films that tell alternative stories about the continent.
With so much on offer it is hard to pick out the best, but events and screenings we are most excited about are:
- Phone Swap (followed by a Q&A with director Kunle Afolayan and lead actor Wale Ojo – you may know him from Meet the Adebanjos!)
- Otelo Burning (followed by a Q&A with director Sara Blecher, who also directed Surfing Soweto)
- Veejays in Daressalaam – a documentary about the phenomenon of ‘video-jockeying’ in East Africa, where blockbusters – mostly Hollywood, Bollywood, and kung fu films – are translated into local languages for local viewers (Screening with surprise film to be VJ’ed by Film Africa 2012 special guest)
- Film Africa LIVE at the Richmix – Double Bill: Congolese Zing Zong All Stars band and Zimbabwean duo Mashasha and Sam
- Maami (followed by a Q&A with director Tunde Kelani)
Keep up to date with reviews on The Africa Channel website and the Film Africa blog