Segilola Ogidan, Tainted Canvas, 2019, feature, 93′, UK
The young artist Rayo, a first-generation British woman, is about to make her breakthrough in England. Under great pressure of expectation she is confronted with a creative blockade. During a walk she finds inspiration as she watches a mother with her daughter. Taking up the motif, the painterly realisation becomes an emotional journey into her childhood in Nigeria. When she receives a phone call about her mother’s poor health, Rayo travels back home. Tainted Canvas leads the viewer into a vibrant 1970s Nigeria. The story unveils the process of healing Roya had to undergo to let go of the past that haunts her. Segilola Ogidan is a Nigerian British filmmaker who made her directing debut with the short film Love Prevails in 2013, presented at the AFRIFF (Africa International Film Festival) and BUFF (The British Urban Film Festival). She is a writer, producer and founder of OKP Productions. Tainted Canvas is her feature film directorial debut.
Tila Chitunda, Name of Baptism-Frances, 2019, short doc, 16’50, Brasil
In Name of Baptism-Frances, the filmmaker tracks down friends of her parents who became crucial to their education and later their migration during the Angolan war of liberation in the 1970s. Based on the filmmaker’s second baptismal name, the film connects an individual personal family story with a larger political and social narrative of interdependencies between Europe, Africa and South America. Based on interviews with eyewitnesses and historical photographs, the film establishes connections between Christian mission schools, the African independence movement and the current African diaspora in Brazil with a narrative ease. Name of Baptism-Frances is the third short documentary based on Tila Chitunda’s own family history. Tila Chitunda has been a director and audiovisual producer since 2004. Her films discuss relations between Africa and Brazil from a viewpoint of her family relationships. Her short documentary FotogrAFRICA (2016) has been presented at the 2nd edition of ADCF in 2018 and was awarded in the category hot doc, it was further awarded as Best Brazilian short film at the It’s all true – International Documentary Film Festival. Name of Baptism- Frances has been awarded Best documentary at the FESTCINE-Recife.
Nadine Ibrahim, Marked, short doc, 20’57, Nigeria
Marked is a documentary that explores the different cultures in Nigeria, traveling to the North, South, East and West in search for explanations and reasons behind scarifications and how they intertwine with identity, spirituality and beauty. The history of scarifications can be traced back to the Benin bronzes, they mark entire societies or individual families, they adorn women and men. The documentary black and white aesthetics of Western ethnographers are reversed in Marked – the persons wearing scarifications present them with their own personal stories. Marked was a story that was brewing in my mind for a very long time. We had this auntie that I grew up with who used to take care of us and she had these marks on her face and arms. Some of the designs on her arms were like lizards and I used to wonder when I was growing up why it was that she had these marks. When I would ask her she would not really have a direct answer for me and would say, “Oh, we were just doing it when we were teenagers because it was fun.” But I felt there was more to the story … (N.I.)
Nadine Ibrahim is a Nigerian filmmaker. Her two recent short films, I am not Corrupt and Marked, have respectively explored the political landscape between citizen and politician. She is currently documenting terrorism in several Nigerian states and working on her first feature-length film – a coming-of-age story of a young boy from rural Nigeria who moves to the city.
Stephan Hilpert, Congo Calling, 2019, feature doc, 90′, Germany
In crisis-ridden eastern Congo, three European development aid workers are forced to question what it means to help. Raúl, a French-Spanish economist doing research on rebel groups, realizes that he is leading his Congolese colleagues into great temptation with his project funds, putting their study at risk of failing. After 30 years in Africa, Peter, from Germany, reaches retirement age and is unable to renew his job contract. He is fighting a losing battle to stay in Congo and to preserve his identity as an aid worker. And the relationship of Anne-Laure, from Belgium, is put to the test when her Congolese boyfriend, after a stay in prison, becomes a high-profile regime critic. Deeply personal insights into coexistence and cooperation between Europe and Africa – and the question: how helpful is the help of the West? Stephan Hilpert studied Documentary Film Directing at the University of Television and Film (HFF) Munich, DE and wrote a PhD thesis in Film Studies at the University of Cambridge, UK. He works as a documentary and advertising film director. CONGO CALLING is his thesis project at the Munich Film School and his debut feature documentary.
Tal Amiran, Dafa Metti (Difficult), 2020, short doc, 14’36”, UK
Under Paris’ glittering Eiffel Tower, illegal Senegalese migrants sell miniature souvenirs of the monument, to support their families back home. Far from their loved ones and hounded by the police, each day is a struggle through darkness in the City of Lights. Tal Amiran is a documentary filmmaker and editor based in London, UK. His first short documentary Seven Days a Week (2016) was screened at 27 festivals including AFI Docs and Big Sky Documentary Film festival, winning 7 awards including Best London Short at the London Short Film Festival. Tal’s second short documentary Sand Men (2017) was screened at 41 festivals including Cinequest, SCAD and Brooklyn Film Festival, winning 10 awards including Best Documentary Short at Sarasota Film Festival. Tal is also a lecturer on the Film and Moving Image BA at Norwich University of the Arts, UK. Dafa Metti is Tal’s third short documentary.
Michael Lees, Uncivilized, 2019, feature doc, 71′, Domenican Republic
Disenchanted by the modern world, Michael Lees heads 2017 into the forest of Dominica with some basic survival gear, religious texts and a camera as well as some major questions: “Why did man ever leave the forest? And what makes for a good life?” Just as he starts to acclimatize to his new life – the unexpected category 5 Hurricane Maria, one of the top ten strongest Atlantic hurricanes in history, makes a direct landfall. Michael is caught out in the open in a palm leaf and bamboo hut. Looking back he states: “What was beautiful to see was, despite the challenges, how easily Dominicans adapted, reverting back to the land, back to the ways of our parents or grandparents – a life in harmony with the natural world. So who is ahead and who is behind?” Michael Lees is a Dominican filmmaker whose films explore themes of environmentalism and spirituality. Lees has written, shot, and edited for clients ranging from Billboard to UNICEF.
Carla Rebai, Our Gorongosa, 2019, feature doc, 60′, Mozambique
Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique has become one of Africa’s most celebrated wildlife restoration stories. After a decade of renewed protection, Gorongosa’s large mammal population has increased 10-fold to over 100,000 animals. But the Park must also find a way to co-exist with the 200,000 people living in surrounding communities. In Our Gorongosa the young African ecologist Dominique Gonçalves shares the inspiring story of how Gorongosa is becoming a new model for wildlife conservation and community development. By bringing large-scale, long-term health care, agriculture support, and girls’ education to surrounding communities, Gorongosa is redefining the identity and purpose of this national park. Carla Rebai graduated from the Academy of Film and Television in Rosario, Argentina, she lives and works in Amsterdam.
Elie Séonnet, with Flora Coquerel, Wax in the City, 2019, feature doc, 54′, France
Wax is a colourful printed fabric synonymous with West and Central Africa. Wax in the City speaks about how wax has become the popular emblem of a new African and Afropolitan generation and how is it used by the many designers, quilters and textile artists in modernized hybrid designs. Filmed between Europe and Africa, Wax in the City provides an overview of the history of the Fabric which is originally Dutch-Indonesian. The film manages to go beyond the unique prism of fashion to raise more political issues like cultural appropriation and innovation when faced with the respect of traditions. It is also interested in the economic dimension of a sector, which, up until now, has not been particularly beneficial to the Africans.
Elie Séonnet is a French director, Flora Coquerel is Miss France 2014, from franco-Beninese background.
Kgosana Monchusi, Opus, 2019, short feature, 17’57”, South Africa
Set in the buzzing city of Johannesburg, Opus follows a day in the life of Lebo, a young aspiring bassist living in the informal settlements. After losing his parents and inheriting the double bass instrument Bontle, Lebo has developed a symbiotic relationship with his Bontle and his music,
which have made him an outsider in the community, but have become his anchor for getting him through his poverty-stricken life and the harsh city landscape.
Kgosana Monchusi is a Soweto born creative He studied music at the University of the Witwatersrand. He worked as a composer and audio engineer and is a 50% owner and director of Weldun Media.
Sol de Carvalho, Mabata Bata, 2019, feature, 73’15”, Mozambique
Azarias is a young orphan shepherd, keeper of a herd of oxen, where the ox Mabata Bata stands out. The oxen will be the basis of the lobolo payment, a traditional dowry that his uncle Raul must pay for his own marriage. Azarias’ dream is to be a normal child, to go to school, gold that is supported by his grandmother. One day, when Azariah is in the pasture, Mabata Bata steps into a mine – the result of the civil war in the country – and explodes. The young man fears his uncle’s reprisals and flees to the forest, taking with him the remaining oxen. The grandmother and uncle leave in their quest to rescue him and persuade him to return. Sol de Carvalho was born in 1953 in Beira, Mozambique, He studied at the Conservatório Nacional de Cinema in Lisbon and worked as a journalist, editor and photographer. Already during his studies in Portugal Sol de Carvalho was a political activist against the Salazar regime. On his return to Mozambique he joined the independence efforts of the FRELIMO and was nominated as the director of the Serviço Nacional da Rádio Moçambique. Starting from 1979 he worked for the magazine Tempo. In 1986 Sol de Carvalho finally took the decision to become a filmmaker. His films have been presented at numerous film festivals worldwide.
Norma Gregory, Digging Deep, 2019, feature doc, 59’14”, UK
Digging Deep is just one part of an extensive research project on Black Miners by historian Norma Gregory. Aim of the project is to collect and preserve the heritage of thousands of black miners who worked in Britain’s pits from the 1950s onward – a story which has been badly neglected.
Gregory estimates that between the early 50s and the late 80s there were nearly 1,000 men of African-Caribbean origin working in Nottinghamshire mines at any time. When pits started closing in the 1980s personnel documents were often destroyed, and researchers have to rely on former miners and oral history to get the full picture of mining and the contribution of black workers. Norma Gregory, born in Nottingham, UK, and of Jamaican heritage is a coal mining historian, curator, heritage consultant and film maker. Gregory is also working with the BBC to produce a programme about the history of black miners.
Sibusiso Khuzwayo, The Letter Reader, 2019, feature short, 29’56”, South Africa
Life is difficult for Siyabonga, a city boy who has just moved to a village. He finds his happiness again when his grandmother gives him letters to read for the illiterate villagers. He happily reads letters until he has to read a break-up-letter to a beautiful woman. Siyabonga decides to save the woman from heartbreak. The story is inspired by the biography of Thabo Mbeki The dream deferred, written by Mark Gevisser, telling a small story about a boy who read letters to villagers during Apartheid when access to education was permitted to many South Africans.
Sibusiso Khuzwayo graduated from Boston Media House with a diploma in television production. He was a writer on SABC drama series, Thola (Season 2) and has directed and edited for various television shows.
Michelle-Andrea Girouard, Running Home, 2019, short feature, 29’59”, Canada
In the Sahara Desert in Tindouf, Algeria, is a community of close to 100,000 Saharawi refugees who, after escaping war over 40 years ago, are still unable to return to their homeland. The Western Sahara Marathon connects the refugee camps of Laayoune, Auserd and Smara, a symbolic route through which runners will endure, for a few hours, the harshness of the land. This is where, in February 2018, Inma Zanoguera was running a marathon—among people who feel the same fears that come with displacement that her biological mother had to face. Inma who grew up in Spain has never known about her family history until 2018. Running Home accompanies her experience finding a connection to her origins.
Michelle-Andrea Girouard graduated from Toronto’s Ryerson University in journalism, where she earned the HaakSaan Award for Excellence in Online Reporting. She has worked as a director, producer and cinematographer on multiple Canadian digital projects for TVO, the Globe and Mail, Maclean’s Magazine, Sportsnet, CBCNews.ca, and others. Running Home is her first film.
Pablo di Leva, El Canto de los Dios, 2019, feature doc, 84′, Uruguay
El Canto de los Dios is a documentary road movie that delves into the musical and religious expressions of sub-Saharan Africa. Throughout Mauritania and Mali the film documents the life of Dogones and Griots in the desert. Pablo di Leva is a filmmaker from Uruguay.
Morad Mostafa, Ward’s Henna Party, 2020, feature short, 22’50”, Egypt
Halima, a Sudanese refugee woman living in Egypt works as a henna painter. On a regular working day she goes to one of Giza’s local areas with her seven year old daughter Ward to prepare a bride for her wedding in one of Giza’s popular neighborhoods. The day takes an unexpected turn when Ward decides to explore the vicinity. Morad Mostafa is an Egyptian Director, born in 1988 in Cairo. He studied Film Directing in Cinema Palace and other filmmaking workshops. He worked as assistant director under Mohamed Diab, Hala Khalil, Sherif Elbendary and Ayten Amin. Ward’s Henna Party is his first short film and had its world premiere at the Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival 2020.