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Kenyan Director Hawa Essuman Wins Director’s Eye €25,000 Prize For Supernatural Drama 'Djin'

Photo of Tambay A. Obenson By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act October 22, 2012 at 12:39PM

More kudos to Kenyan filmmaker Hawa Essuman's supernatural screenplay titled Djin, which has won the Director’s Eye prize at the 9th African Film Festival of Cordoba (Spain); the award comes with 25,000 euro (or about $32,600) to be used in development.
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Hawa Essuman
Hawa Essuman

More kudos to Kenyan filmmaker Hawa Essuman's supernatural screenplay titled Djin, which has won the Director’s Eye prize at the 9th African Film Festival of Cordoba (Spain); the award comes with 25,000 euro (or about $32,600) to be used in development.

This marks yet another funding coup for the project, which, you may remember, in January, was 1 of 36 entries selected for Rotterdam’s 29th co-production market CineMart, where it was presented to 850 potential co-financiers.

The acclaimed director of Soul Boy, her 2010 feature film debut (which was produced by Tom Tykwer - director of Run Lola, RunCloud Atlas), saw her Djin awarded the Director's Eye prize from a selection of 6 feature film scripts, which participated in the 4th Forum for African Co-production at Cordoba.

Here's a synopsis for Djin:

Every 30 years, in a village on the coast of Kenya where mythology and tradition prevail despite modernity's attempts to penetrate, a wind blows, carrying with it a spirit: the Djin. This spirit selects people, urging them to fulfil their aspirations, at the same time eliminating doubts and ambivalences.

Special mention went to Salme’s Freedom, by Mira Tanna-Händel (also from Kenya).

Look for individual profiles of the other 5 runners-up: Sweet Justice, by Ekwa Msangi-Omari (Tanzania, U.S., Kenya);  Kiloshe, by Victoria Thomas (Sierra Leone); La batârde, by Uda Benyamina/ Malik Rumeau (Morocco, Syria, France); and La Bande à Salomon, by Kivu Ruhorahoza (Rwanda).

Here's the press release:

Cordoba, October 18th, 2012. The lettera27 foundation in collaboration with the African Film Festival of Cordoba-FCAT, has granted on Thursday the 18th of October, a 25,000 euro fund to a project titled Djin (The wind of destiny) from filmmaker Hawa Essuman. The Kenyan director, originally from Ghana, has already received an award this year in the International Film Festival of Durban (DIFF) for her script Logs of War. This same work has also been selected to screen in the International Documentary Festival of Amsterdam (IDFA).

The winning project has been agreed upon as the best of the seven feature length narrative scripts regarding Africa participating in the 4th Forum for African Coproduction, Africa Produces. The Fund, known as The Director's Eye, is confirmed as being allocated to the realization of Djin, a film narrating the history of a Kenyan coastal village reigned over by mythology and tradition as it experiences the arrival of modernity.

The jury which has commissioned this selection is formed by the Nigerian filmmaker Newton I. Aduaka and South African producer Steven Markowitz, who have noted "the high quality of the participating projects, with which we corroborate a bright future for African cinema". Furthermore, the members of the jury have also given special mention, one without economic endowment, to the third feature length script from Kenyan filmmaker Mira Tanna-Händel, titled Salme's Freedom.

The director of the festival, Mane Cisneros, has highlighted that the Directors Eye fund "is not only an economic endowment, but also a means by which the director will have access to support and advice at all times from both the lettera27 foundation as well as the festival. Together, these organizations will accompany Hawa Essuman from start to finish.

In addition to the economic endowment of 25,000 euros, the project will have support through the duration of the production process by means of advice, search and dissemination of sponsors, the initiation of crowd funding campaigns and social networking. Following its production; the film Djin, a result of this international coproduction, will be projected at the African Film Festival of Cordoba-FCAT as an international launch platform.

In this way, the FCAT Cordoba which is celebrated from the 13th -20th of October is configured not only as a space for the presentation and projection of films, but also as a point of interaction and dialogue between filmmakers, Spanish audiences, international producers, distributors, and fund managers with the objective or promoting coproduction.

The Forum of African Coproduction, Africa produces, which forms a part of the FCAT program's Espacio Profesional celebrates this year its fourth edition. The objective of this space is to facilitate connections between African filmmakers and European producers interested in working together.

This article is related to: Hawa Essuman


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