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SIFF Preview: 'Comrade President' (On Mozambican President Machel & Independence Fight)

Festivals
by Tambay A. Obenson
March 27, 2013 3:14 PM
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Samora Moisés Machel

It was announced last fall that SIFF (the Seattle International Film Festival) was the 2012 recipient of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences multi-year grant for its African Pictures program, which comprises of a total of $150,000 over a three-year period - funds that will go towards showcasing the burgeoning and diverse brands of cinema that are emerging across continental Africa. 

SIIF's goal, starting at this year's edition of the festival (May 16 – June 09, 2013), is to present a minimum of ten African feature films annually, during the course of the three-year program.

This year's lineup will include 11 films to be screened at the festival, as part of its African Pictures program, and one of those films is from Zimbabwean director Mosco Kamwendo - a feature documentary titled Comrade President, which won the Muhr AsiaAfrica Documentary Special Mention award at the 9th Dubai International Film Festival, in December.

Kamwendo's film is described as an insightful and revealing documentary about Mozambican president Samora Moises Machel, who was killed in a controversial plane crash in the then apartheid South Africa.

The film is a reflection on the struggle for independence in Mozambique and the post-independent leadership challenges that followed - a story that's so similar to just about every other once-colonized African country.

To make a comparison, you could call him the Patrice Lumumba of Mozambique - both public figures in their native countries, fighting for independence and freedom from the European nations that ruled over them; both whose deaths were and still are shrouded in controversy, with ongoing debates as to who and/or what was responsible for each.

As an aside, if a scripted film is made on the life of Machel, I vote for David Oyelowo to play him, because there's definitely a resemblance there.

Here's a teaser trailer:

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