New Initiative Launch: 'African Metropolis' - 7 Filmmakers, 7 Cities, 7 Stories (The Details...)

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by Tambay A. Obenson
July 16, 2012 8:09 AM
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Lucman, 3, in the projection room at one of the open-air theaters on the periphery of Ouagadougou.

This is wonderful news! You'll hopefully recall the ImagiNations Pan-African project in which a series of six feature films based on contemporary African literature would be produced - an initiative created and spearheaded by Djo Tunda Wa Munga and Steve Markovitz, the writer/director and producer team behind last year's Viva Riva!.

Well, this isn't that project, but Mr Markovitz is presenting it; and you could call it a precursor to ImagiNations, in that the films here will be shorts not features; although they won't be based on literature.

Still a movement to definitely be aware of, one that immediately makes me think of the Focus Features Africa First shorts program, although there are certainly differences between the 2.

I'm looking forward to seeing the fruits of this new initiative from Mr Markovitz.

Details in the press release below:

AFRICAN METROPOLIS - 7 filmmakers, 7 cities, 7 stories

Vibrant, noisy, teeming, unpredictable. These are some words associated with the African Metropolis.

Seven African directors will each explore their own African Metropolis, the legendary cities of Abidjan, Cairo, Dakar, Johannesburg, Kinshasa, Lagos, and Nairobi. The initiative is presented by executive producer Steven Markovitz and the Goethe-Institut South Africa, with further support from the Hubert Bals Fund of the International Film Festival of Rotterdam.

Selected from among 40 entries, the seven filmmakers are attending the Durban International Film Festival (DIFF) in July 2012, where they will participate in a screenwriting workshop run by renowned script editor Jacques Akchoti, and network with filmmakers from across the continent. The completed short films will be launched at the International Film Festival of Rotterdam and Durban International Film Festival in 2013.

African Metropolis traverses the continent, from east to west, north to south. All seven films will reveal unexplored settings in which the drama of life is played out.

From Nairobi, Jim Chuchu directs A Sun Came, where the end of the world is a good chance to make amends and gives the characters the courage to do the unexpected. Jim is a director/photographer from the stylish world of fashion, art and music, as well as a member of ‘ Just a Band.’

In Berea, Johannesburg director Vincent Moloi tells the story of the ageing Aaron Zukerman, who is trapped in his dilapidated inner city apartment as the crazy outside world closes in on his memories and happiness. A visit from a beautiful stranger is his last link to the here and now. Vincent is an acclaimed documentary filmmaker and former MIPDOC African Trailblazer.

Patrick Kalala Tujibikila’s Doubtful Client is set in the streets of Kinshasa, where a taxi driver’s unlikely passenger takes him on a wild journey around his own city. Patrick is an actor-turned-filmmaker whose documentary on freedom of the press in DRC was part of a group of short films, Congo in Four Acts, that premiered at Berlinale 2010.

From Lagos, director Folasakin Iwajomo presents a noir thriller, Noose, about how two women’s chance meeting on a bus leads to planning the perfect murder. A video editing lecturer Iwajomo’s has won recognition for his short films including being nominated at the DFF 2010, winning best screenplay at the In-Short Film Festival 2011 and winning MTV Shuga one minute short film competition for his film Point Blank .

Award-winning Egyptian filmmaker Ahmed El Ghoneimy will film The Giza Zoo in Cairo. Here a young boy steals a lion cub as an act of bravado, but can’t imagine the consequences of his actions. Ahmed El Ghoneimy ‘s short fiction film Bahari won the best short film at the ‘Recontres de l’image 8eme edition’ in Cairo and the Jury prize at the 28th Hamburg Short Film Festival.

Abidjan director Philipe Lacote’s short film To Repel Ghosts centres on the celebrated artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, who travelled to the Cote d’Ivoire city two years before his death. An exhibition opening turns into a journey through the city to visit a soothsayer- and results in a revelation that he is little prepared for. Lacote has made a number of documentary films and is about to embark on his first feature entitled Run. He was part of the Cannes Film Festival Cinefondation programme.

Senegalese-Martinican filmmaker Marie Ka is the only woman director in the group. Set in Dakar, The Other Woman tells of a 50-year-old housewife who discovers her true self when she allows her husband’s second wife into her home.

Marie founded the Picture Box production company in 2005 and also works as a scriptwriter winning awards at Fespaco and the Francophone Film Festival of Angouleme.

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1 Comment

  • Sean Moroney | July 27, 2012 2:48 PMReply

    We would like to organise a viewing of these films at the AITEC Broadcast, Film & Music Africa Conference (ABFiMA) in Nairobi over 3-4 July 2013

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