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An African Film Festival Grows... In Tokyo, Japan (Mission, 2013 Lineup, Dates, More)

Photo of Tambay A. Obenson By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act May 16, 2013 at 6:15PM

An African Film Festival Grows... In Tokyo, Japan (Mission, 2013 Lineup, Dates, More)

Cinema Africa is a nonprofit organization in Tokyo, Japan, established in 2006, with a published mission to "develop understanding and appreciation of Africa in Japan through African films made by African filmmakers or producers."

The organizers claim that Cinema Africa in Tokyo is the only African film festival in Asia and the Pacific region, and they also recently started distribution of the films to non-profit organizations, non-governmental organizations, and municipalities in the East Asian island nation.

Today, we can see many films focusing on Africa, or filmed in Africa. But what we want to bring to you is the true voice of Africa, and not the films about Africa made in Hollywood or western media. Therefore, we basically introduce African films made by African filmmakers/producers through their own perspectives, which is the only way for us to learn about them. We cannot just sit and wait in front of our desks, or play with Google to capture the REAL Africa today. Or, we cannot just wait for major film festivals in Europe or US to make their own pick of ‘best’ African films. We would like to tell Japanese people what WE found in Africa. We try to go as many times as possible to Africa to attend African film festivals, held in such places as Burkina Faso, South Africa, Zanzibar, Rwanda, etc, to see with our own eyes and collect the latest films.

Well then; can't knock their spirited intentions, right?

Miho Yoshida is the director of the festival. In 2006, she established Cinema Africa and has organized film festivals in Tokyo and its surroundings. She also works for many African cultural events in Tokyo and writes regularly on African cinema.

This year's event runs from May 18 - 23, and the lineup of features, docs and shorts, includes several titles previously covered on this blog, like 2 films by Kunle Afolayan: romantic comedy Phone Swap, as well thriller The Figurine. Also docs on Ousmane Sembene and Wole Soyinka, amongst others. And shorts films like Wanuri Kanuri's sci-fi Pumzi.

More from the lineup, lifted directly from the festival's website, below:

Phone Swap

Phone Swap (Drama / Comedy / 110 min / Nigeria / 2012 / director Kunle Afolayan)


The Figurine / Araromire (Drama / Thriller / 120 minutes / Nigeria / 2010 / director Kunle Afolayan)

Africa Paradise

Africa Paradise / AFRICA PARADIS (Drama / 85 min / Benin-France / 2007 / director Silvestre AMS)

United Africa / Africa United

United Africa / Africa United (Drama / 90 min / UK · South African Rwanda / 2008 / director Debs Gardner-Paterson)


TEZA ★ Fespaco Best Picture in 2009 (Drama / 140 min / Ethiopia, Germany, France / 2008 / director Haile Gerima)


Warrior (Feature Drama / 140 min / Eritrea / 2007 / director Zerai-Misugun)

[Documentary film]


Creation in Exile: Five Filmmakers in Conversation (Documentary / 53 min / France / 2012 / director Daniela Rich)


O Sembene! / O Sembene! ★ "Father of African cinema★ (Documentary / 56 min / 2012 / Mali / director Souleymane Cisse)


CINEMA IN SUDAN: CONVERSATION WITH GADALLA GUBARA (Documentary / 52 min / 2008 / Director Frederick Shifuentesu)


WOLE SOYINKA: CHILD OF THE FOREST (Documentary / 52 minutes / South Africa / 2009 / director Akin Omotoso ·)


CUBA: AN AFRICAN ODYSSEY (Documentary / France-Egypt / 2007 / director Jehan El Tari)

[Short Film]


PUMZI ★ Cannes Independent Best short film award (Short / 20 min / South African Kenya / 2009 / director Wanuri-Kahiu)

Nous aussi avons marche sur la lune

We also walked on the moon (Short / 16 min / Belgium · DR Congo / 2010 / director Balkh, Bakupa-Kaninda)

See it addressed

FORA (Short / 7 minutes / Rwanda / 2009 / director Ayoub, Kasassa grandchild)


Elvis Presley / Rockamilley of Uganda (Short / 17 minutes / Uganda / 2004 / director Caroline Kamuya)

Mr Cato

The Dancing Wizard (Short / 10 min / Uganda / 2004 / director Caroline Kamuya)

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