Coen Welsh | Nov 14, 2017 | 0
AfricAvenir shows more quality African cinema in 2015
Inspiring Young Imaginations
Adventures in Zambezia
As part of the Inspiring Young Imaginations project launched last year, AfricAvenir will present African films for children in Katutura, in partnership with Terre des Hommes (Italy) and Hope Initiatives Southern Africa (HISA). The South African animation Adventures in Zambezia, kicks off the kids film series in February, in partnership with the Franco Namibian Cultural Centre. Set in a bustling bird city on the edge of Mosi oa Tunya, the smoke that thunders, or commonly known as the Victoria Falls, the film tells the story of Kai, a naïve, but high-spirited young falcon who travels to the bird city of Zambezia where he discovers the truth about his origins, and, in defending the city, learns how to be part of a community.
AfricAvenir opens its “African Perspectives” series in 2015 on 31. January at the Goethe Centre in Windhoek with the Namibian premiere of “Toussaint Louverture”, directed by French-Senegalese, Philippe Niang. The film was produced in 2012 in Haiti and France. Toussaint Louverture is a two-part action film of the life of Haitian revolutionary Toussaint Louverture who led the first and only successful slave revolt in the history of the world. The film dissects the man who, born into slavery, became a general in the French army and even defied Napoleon’s power by making his homeland, Haïti, the first independent black state in the world, and a basket case ever since. In three hours, director Niang draws the complex personality of the hero of Haitian independence.
Further in the year, Namibian audiences will watch the gripping documentary “Cairo Drive”, Egypt, 2014, directed by Sherief Elkatsha. It explores the life at street level of one of the world’s most populous cities. Shot from 2009 to 2012, before and during the Egyptian revolution, and ending with the most recent presidential elections. The film explores the country’s collective identity, inherent struggles, and the sentiments that lead to the historic changes taking place in Egypt today. Taxis, buses, donkey carts, and hordes of people, all jockeying to move through the obstacle course that is their daily lives, form the tapestry for this intriguing animated collage. Situated at a cultural crossroads, Cairo is a city unlike any other where different faiths, races, and social classes all share a few clogged roads. Filmmaker Elkatsha rides through the congested streets alongside a diverse cast of characters from taxi drivers to ambulances, from traffic cops to private citizens, capturing the unspoken codes of conduct, frustrations, humour, fatalism, and life-or-death decisions of driving in a city where the only rule is: there are no rules.
Born into Struggle
Having brought the director of Miners Shot Down, Rehad Desai, to Namibia in 2014, AfricAvenir brings another of his films, Born into Struggle, to the Windhoek audience. In this film, shot by Namibian native, Simon Wilkie, Desai takes us on an intimate journey mapped out by the scars etched into his family’s life from having a father who was intensely involved in politics. Barney Desai was a political hero during South Africa’s struggle for freedom, yet as a father he was absent emotionally. Rehad spent most of his young life in exile and became politically active himself. On this intensely personal journey into his past, Rehad realizes he is following in his fathers footsteps as he reviews his relationship with his own estranged teenage son.
The Art of Ama Ata Aidoo
Another highlight of the year will be the presentation of Ghana’s “The Art of Ama Ata Aidoo”, 2014, directed by Yaba Badoe. He explores the artistic contribution of Ghana’s pioneer female writer, Ama Ata Aidoo, charting her creative journey in a life that spans seven decades. Her career started in colonial Ghana through the tumultuous era of independence to a more sober modern Ghana where nurturing women’s creative talent still remains as hard as ever. Over the course of a year the film follows Aidoo as she returns home to her ancestral village in the central region of Ghana, launches her latest collection of short stories in Accra, and travels to the University of California, Santa Barbara to attend the premier of her seminal play about the slave trade, Anowa.
The film series “African Perspectives” is organised by AfricAvenir Windhoek. The series is supported by AfriCine, Goethe-Centre/NaDS, Franco Namibian Cultural Centre, JacMat, and Tulipamwe Designs.