By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act July 30, 2014 at 5:49PM
With support from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, the Open Doors section aims to support directors and producers from countries where independent filmmaking is vulnerable. This initiative focuses on a different region every year and operates in two modes.
On the one hand, the Open Doors Co-production Lab selects 12 film projects from the chosen region, and offers the directors and producers involved, an opportunity to work on their pitching techniques, and to meet with potential partners, mostly from Europe, to foster support for their projects, which would otherwise be difficult to complete.
On the other hand, in order to introduce the Festival audience to the cinematographic and cultural landscape of the chosen region, a number of films are selected each year to be part of the Open Doors Screenings.
This year, Open Doors covers the following countries in Sub-Saharan Africa: Angola, Botswana, Cape Verde, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, São Tomé and Príncipe, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
And this year's Open Doors screenings of films from the above countries includes:
DIFRET by Zeresenay Berhane Mehari – Ethiopia/United States – 2014 – 99 min.
EZRA by Newton I. Aduaka – Nigeria/United States/Great Britain/Austria – 2007 – 105 min.
FOOLS by Ramadan Suleman – South Africa/France – 1997 – 90 min.
HALF OF A YELLOW SUN by Biyi Bandele – Nigeria/Great Britain – 2013 – 111 min.
HERITAGE AFRICA by Kwaw Ansah – Ghana – 1989 – 124 min.
MAPANTSULA by Oliver Schmitz – South Africa/Great Britain – 1988 – 106 min.
MUEDA, MEMÓRIA E MASSACRE by Ruy Guerra – Mozambique – 1979 – 77 min.
NELISITA by Ruy Duarte de Carvalho – Angola – 1983 – 67 min.
NELSON MANDELA: THE MYTH & ME by Khalo Matabane – South Africa/Germany – 2014 – 86 min.
POR AQUI TUDO BEM by Pocas Pascoal – Angola/Portugal – 2011 – 94 min.
SAIKATI by Anne Mungai – Kenya – 1992 – 90 min.
SHIRLEY ADAMS by Oliver Hermanus – South Africa/United States/Great Britain – 2009 – 91 min.
SOMETHING NECESSARY by Judy Kibinge – Kenya/Germany – 2013 – 85 min.
TESTAMENT by John Akomfrah – Ghana/Great Britain – 1988 – 76 min.
TEZA by Haile Gerima – Ethiopia/Germany/France – 2008 – 139 min.
ZAMORA by Shams Bhanji – Tanzania – 2011 – 95 min.
AFRICAN METROPOLIS: BEREA by Vincent Moloi – South Africa – 2013 – 13 min.
AFRICAN METROPOLIS: HOMECOMING by Jim Chuchu – Kenya – 2013 – 11 min.
AFRICAN METROPOLIS: THE LINE-UP by Folasakin Iwajomo – Nigeria – 2013 – 14 min.
AL MAHATTA by Eltayeb Mahdi – Sudan – 1989 – 17 min.
JEMINA & JOHNNY by Lionel N’Gakane – South Africa/Great Britain – 1967 – 29 min.
KWAKU ANANSE by Akosua Adoma Owusu – Ghana/Mexico/United States – 2013 – 25 min.
MAWAZO by Nina Mnaya – Tanzania – 2008 – 13 min.
PUMZI by Wanuri Kahiu – Kenya/South Africa – 2009 – 23 min.
THE BUSINESS TRIP by Neema Kambona – Tanzania – 2008 – 13 min.
THE MARRIAGE OF MARIAMU by Ron Mulvihill and Nangayoma Ng'oge – Tanzania/United States – 1985 – 36 min.
Several filmmakers from countries in Sub-Saharan Africa will attend the next edition of Open Doors, reflecting the thematic, geographic and generational variety of cinema in countries of the region. They will include Kwaw Ansah (director of "Heritage Africa," 1989), one of the first generation of filmmakers in post-independence Ghana, and Ramadan Suleman, from South Africa (whose film "Fools" won the Silver Leopard in 1997). Others include Newton I. Aduaka (Nigerian director of "Ezra," shown at Sundance in 2007, and winner of the Yennenga Stallion at FESPACO the same year), Khalo Matabane ("Nelson Mandela: The Myth & Me," South Africa, 2014), Zeresenay Berhane Mehari ("Difret," Ethiopia, winner of the Audience Prize at both Sundance and Berlin in 2014), Biyi Bandele (director of "Half of a Yellow Sun," adapted from a novel by Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie), Pocas Pascoal ("Por Aqui Tudo Bem," Angola/Portugal, 2011), Jim Chuchu (director of the short film "Homecoming," Kenya, 2013) and Vincent Moloi (director of the short film "Berea," South Africa, 2013).
And finally, the Open Doors Lab, which takes place August 9 – 12, aims to help the directors and producers of the projects selected from the region – 12 projects from English and Portuguese speaking regions of Sub-Saharan Africa (Angola, Ethiopia, Ghana, Lesotho, Mozambique, South Africa, Uganda, Zambia) – to find partners for completion financing, and enable them to make their films.
At the end of the 4 days, 3 awards will go to the best projects.
2 new awards have been introduced for 2014. A new partnership with the TorinoFilmLab will offer script-writing support for certain projects, and for 1 of the projects selected for Open Doors to participate in the Torino event’s next edition.
And also, thanks to the partnership with the Producers Network du Marché du Film de Cannes, 3 producers of projects presented at Open Doors will have an opportunity to participate in this prestigious event during the Cannes Festival in 2015.
The previously-announced 12 selected projects are:
ALELUIA by Zézé Gamboa – Angola
FARAWAY FRIENDS by Teboho Edkins – South Africa/Lesotho
FIG TREE by Alamork Marsha – Ethiopia/Israel
FIRST MAN by Jahmil X.T. Qubeka – South Africa
HEART AND FIRE by Sol de Carvalho – Mozambique
HOT COMB by Caroline Kamya – Uganda/Netherlands
I AM NOT A WITCH by Rungano Nyoni – Zambia/France
KULA: A MEMORY IN THREE ACTS by Inadelso Cossa – Mozambique
TERRITORIAL PISSINGS by Sibs Shongwe-La Mer – South Africa
THE MERCY OF THE JUNGLE by Joel Karekezi – South Africa/Rwanda/Belgium
THE TRAIN OF SALT AND SUGAR by Licinio de Azevedo – Mozambique/Portugal
UNBALANCED by P. Sam Kessie – Ghana