Today there is a great interest throughout the world in Africa. Its cinema is slowly entering the world's film markets and the festivals. In the U.S., though not made by Africans, still "of African interest", this week's release of Claire Denis's ♀White Material has garnered a strong review by Kenneth Turan in the L.A. Times.
Simultaneously poetic, dramatic and realistic, "White Material" is an altogether stunning work. Directed by Claire Denis and starring Isabelle Huppert in a bravura performance as a woman confronting armed chaos in Africa, this is filmmaking that is at once exhilarating and chilling, powerful and powerfully disturbing.
The Hubert Bals Fund (HBF) and Jan Vrijman Fund (JVF) and the Cinema Mondial Tour.
These two Dutch funds, which provide support to filmmakers in developing countries, have set up a joint film program, the Cinema Mondial Tour, to tour film festivals in Africa until March 2011. Working together for the first time, they have created a program of films from various African countries, as well as other regions where the HBF and JVF are active. HBF films are from Kenya, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Guinea, Argentina and Malaysia while the JVF-supported documentaries come from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Iran and Russia. All participating festivals make their own selection from the films chosen by the HBF and JVF. The film program consists of a total of 12 fiction films and documentaries.
Launching with a special advance screening at the beginning of June during the Ecrans Noir festival in Cameroon, the official starting signal for the tour of Africa was given on 10 July during the opening of the Zanzibar International Film Festival in Tanzania. A day later, on 11 July, the Rwanda Film Festival began and also screened the program, followed by the Durban International Film Festival in South Africa. The Cinema Mondial Tour will run until mid-2011 and will visit film festivals in other African countries, including Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda and Benin. Hubert Bals Fund and Jan Vrijman Fund worked together with the aim of stimulating an independent film culture in developing countries. As part of the International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR), the HBF focuses specifically on the realisation of fiction films. The JVF, which is part of the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA), is geared to offering support to creative documentaries. The policy of both funds is twofold: firstly to provide support to filmmakers in developing countries. Secondly, the financial resources made available must be spent in a developing country and both HBF and JVF stimulate the screening of the films in their countries of origin. The aim is for the Cinema Mondial Tour to be organized in other parts of the world, such as in the Middle East and Central Asia, in the future. The Hubert Bals Fund and The Jan Vrijman Fund are both supported by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Hivos-NCDO Culture Foundation, the DOEN Foundation, with further aid for HBF coming from Dioraphte Foundation and Dutch public broadcasting network NPS.
The Hubert Bals Fund films:
Love Conquers All by Tan Chui Mui (Malaysia, 2006)
Soul Boy by Hawa Essuman (Kenya, 2010)
Un matin bonne heure by Gahité Fofana (Guinea, 2006)
Una semana solos by Celina Murga ♀ (Argentina, 2006)
Le jardin de papa by Zeka Laplaine (DR Congo, 2003)
The Jan Vrijman Fund films:
Congo in Four Acts by Dieudo Hamadi, Divita Wa Lusala and Kiripi Katembo Siku (DR Congo, South Africa, 2010)
Glimpse by Dan Jawitz and Alberto Iannuzzi (South Africa, 2005)
Santos by Rupinder Jagdev (Kenya, 2008)
Sea Point Days by Francois Verster (South Africa, 2008)
Shungu, the Resilience of a People by Saki Mafundikwa (Zimbabwe, 2009)
Tehran has no more Pomegrenates by Massoud Bakhshi (Iran, 2006)
Tishe! by Victor Kossakovsky (Russia, 2002)
Berlinale / Durban: Africa in Motion (AiM)
For the third year, the Africa in Motion (AiM), the U.K. largest African film festival invited African filmmakers to submit short films of up to 30 minutes for the festival's short film competition. In order to target the competition specifically towards young and emerging African film talent, filmmakers who enter a film for consideration must not have completed a feature-length film previously. Films entered must have been completed in 2007 or after. A shortlist from all the entries was selected and announced by the end of August 2010. From this shortlist, the competition winner was chosen by a high profile jury and announced at an awards ceremony at the Africa in Motion festival in October 2010. The jury consisted of local and international film specialists and established African filmmakers. All shortlisted films will be screened at the festival. In addition to the overall first prize selected by the jury, an audience choice award was selected by the audience at the screenings and announced at the end of the festival. The deadline for short film competition entries has been extended to 14 June 2010. See their website http://www.africa-in-motion.org.uk for full submission guidelines and to download the entry form, read carefully through the submission guidelines and email the festival co-directors Lizelle Bisschoff ♀ and Stefanie van de Peer ♀ with further enquires at: submissions AT africa-in-motion.org.uk
And Deeper in Africa...
FilmAfrica! has been developed from an initiative of One Fine Day Films', Tom Tykwer and Marie Steinmann ♀. The company joined forces with the Deutsche Welle Akademie to launch a new initiative that will offer hands-on training to budding African filmmakers. FilmAfrica! which ran the production company along with U.K.-based charity Anno’s Africa in Nairobi in autumn 2008, made the film Soul Boy by Ghanaian-Kenyan debutant Hawa Essuman. The initiative now receives $1.4m (€1m) in support from Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) over the next two years and will also receive support from the Goethe Institut in Nairobi. In addition, the Filmstiftung NRW has awarded $136,137 (€100,000) towards the production costs the next film, which will be shot this autumn. Guy and Siobhain “Ginger” Wilson’s Nairobi-based production house Ginger Ink, which was a co-producer of Soul Boy, will serve as the local partner for FilmAfrica!
Speaking to ScreenDaily, Tykwer said:
“This year’s project will be more structured than the pilot project of Soul Boy. There will be a series of workshops over a number of months before the actual shoot, and we will have 10-15 participants in six or seven department workshops. Out of a total of 60-100 people, we will then generate the crew which will be trained before we actually start shooting the movie. On Soul Boy, the film was the workshop. Therefore, we will know better what the particular skills and knowledge are of the individual people.”
“Out of these, ten major candidates are in the running, and we will then come down to three or four after the other training workshops in the summer. The final choice of screenplay should then be made with the director who is chosen from the workshops,”
Nigeria's Nollywood eclipsing Hollywood in Africa
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