Alexander Markov, Our Africa, 2018, doc, 45′, Russia
With his documentary Our Africa, director Alexander Markov uses found footage to collage Russia’s perspective in the era of independence. Technical equipment and knowledge for the modernization of agriculture, infrastructure, education and health was provided alongside a free socialist ideology. The Russian mission was accompanied by photographers and film makers to report back home about the creation of an African utopia. The documentary film material demonstrates how the USA and the Soviet Union, during the Cold War, staked out the ground of their influence in Africa. With his film, Alexander Markov also commemorates the visions and spirit of optimism of these years, leading to the question of what became of them. Alexander Markov is a documentary filmmaker, cinema historian and artist. He directs films in St. Petersburg and abroad, teaches documentary directing at the St. Petersburg State Institute of Film and Television, and works as an independent curator. His video installations have been shown at the Sharjah Biennial, Calvert 22, Iwalewahaus, Africa.Cont, CEU etc. Markov’s films have been awarded prizes at various international film festivals: Berlinale Talents, Visions Du Reel, DocPoint, Sheffield Doc, Film Africa, Message To Man, NYAFF, Artdocfest, Cinefest, Directors Lounge, Stalker, Temps d’images and others.
Thomas Grand and Moussa Diop, African Fish, Golden Fish, 2018, doc, 60′, Senegal
The Casamance region in South of Senegal is one of the last areas of traditional fishing in West Africa. The elaborate documentation along the value chain of the fishing industry provides a differentiated picture of the fishermen’s situation, the hard working conditions and the negative impacts of globalisation and climate change in the region. Rather than simple explanations, Golden Fish, African Fish is a multi-layered collection of voices. Nevertheless, despite dystopian aspects, the film also shows the beauty and potential of this region and its people. Moussa Diop, born 1979, in Tivaouane, Senegal, is the sound engineer and Director of the movie Golden Fish, African Fish. He trained in sound techniques at the National Arts Orchestra of Senegal, and the Blaise Senghor Cultural Centre. Thomas Grand, born 1976 in Paris, is a producer, director, camera operator, editor and co-Director of the movie Golden Fish, African Fish. He is a graduate of Esra (School of Audiovisual Realization), Paris.
Loraine Blumenthal, The Mayor’s Race, 2018, doc, 80′, Germany
Over four years, through two terms of elections, 2012 to 2016, filmmaker Loraine Blumenthal accompanied 47 year-old Marvin Rees in his candidacy for the Mayor of Bristol. Rees, who grew up as a mixed-race child in one of Bristol’s rough neighbourhoods, has the vision to fight social injustice in his hometown and create opportunities and future perspectives for the youth in the suburbs. The Mayor’s Race is a very intimate, honest, authentic portrait. The camera captures the private moments during the candidacy, Rees with his family, Rees preparing for events, running, boxing, talking face-to-face about his ideas for the future of Bristol. Through a compassionate lens, the viewer becomes a voyeur of all kinds of emotions and inner struggles that Rees is going through in the circus of politics: self-confidence, hope, exhaustion, doubt. After his close loss in 2012, Rees learns to become more professional and strategic in his second run in 2016… Loraine Blumenthal is a documentary film maker from Berlin, Germany, and graduated in theatre and film studies, sociology and French literature in 2010. In 2012, she received her Master of Arts degree in Documentary Practice at the University of Bristol. The Mayor’s Race is her second documentary film.
Mohamed Hossameldin, Yousef, 2018, short, 14′, Italy
Yousef is a successful restaurant owner in Italy and a second-generation migrant. Mohamed Hossameldin’s short film describes a moment of collision between personal and external moments in Yousef’s life that plunge him into a deep identity crisis. The recognition of his citizenship in Italy and the racist attack on migrants in Macerata coincide. When a young woman is attacked at night, the first ethical impulse to help collides with the fear of the perception as a migrant in this situation. The short film concentrates on the translation of Yousef’s inner fears and loss of orientation through cinematic means and sound. Mohamed Hossameldin is an Italian-Egyptian director, born in Alexandria, Egypt in 1983. After moving to Italy, he first worked as a video operator for the Mediaset and Sky broadcasters, to then make several short films and independent documentaries. In 2011, he enrolled at the Rome University of Fine Arts, where he graduated in 2014 with the thesis The essence of cinema. How to become a director. In 2017, he wrote and directed the short film Sotto Terra.
Ricardo Salvetti, Rwanda, 2018, feature, 90′, Italy
The setting for Rwanda is the cruel climax of the Hutu and Tutsi conflict. It tells the true story of a young man, Augustin, who has no choice but to kill, and a young woman, Cecile, who is sentenced to escape to save her own life and that of her four-year-old daughter. In the film, the viewer experiences how the protagonists decide to break out of given social roles in this genocide. Humanity, friendship and solidarity are confronted with racism and violence. Salvetti keeps the viewer in a moral-judgmental observer position by switching between stage production and film. By slipping into the roles of fictional characters from both ethnic groups, the actors experience the limits of possibilities and action in trying to find alternative stories. The film has already won numerous awards, including the Best European Film of the Year at the ECU – European International Film Festival in Paris and the Best Use of Music – Award 2019 in the USA. Riccardo Salvetti, 32, is a movie director and filmmaker. He graduated in film production at Civica Scuola di Cinema Luchino Visconti for Film, Television and New Media in Milan. He prefers to make video-portraits of stories with social issues, with a narration that sometimes captures surreal and dreamy tones. His main works, the documentary film Gabani due volte campione and the short movie Closed Box, won many international awards. Rwanda is his first feature long-length film.
Adam Thomason, Anumasa (inexhaustible water), 2018, doc, 34′, Ghana
Anumasa (Inexhaustible Water) was shot by a small team in Ghana within ten days. Anumasa means inexhaustible water – a divine infinity. The film’s shooting locations are historic sites of the slave trade in Ghana, from the slave castles on the coast to the slave markets on the northern border with Burkina Faso. The documentary focusses on the intra-African trade of humans dating back to the 17th century, which is rarely covered in written history. In Anumasa, this story is told from the Ghanaian perspective, through the circulating oral stories and by indigenous historians. Adam Lumkile Thomason was born in Detroit, Michigan and has been working in the entertainment, film and fashion world since 1999. Anumasa (Inexhaustible Water) is his first film.
Kelley Kali, Lalo’s House, 2018, short, 25′, Haiti
Lalo’s House is a film that aims at shedding light on Haiti’s modern slavery and human trafficking problems. Centred around the relentless hope of two young girls, Manouchka and younger sister Phara, Lalo’s House is a stylized film depicting a little girls’ reality between documentary and fable, terror and innocence. Trapped in a series of unfortunate events, Manouchka and Phara find themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time, resulting in their kidnapping. The little girls are brought to what at first appears to be an orphanage. Confirming their greatest fear, the orphanage actually serves as a network for child prostitution. Very soon, Manouchka is faced with tough decisions ranging from protecting her innocent little sister, to growing up far beyond her child’s years. Kelley Kali has a Bachelor’s degree from Howard University in Anthropology and a Masters degree from the USC School of Cinematic Arts. She has produced and directed award-winning films in Belize, Haiti, China, and locally. She developed the web series The Discovery of Dit Dodson, which has been in the official selection of numerous festivals including the Atlanta Film Festival, American Black Film Festival, Oregon Short Film Festival, and the Pan African Film Festival.
Pius Okaba, AYE, 2018, short, 18′, Nigeria
AYE is a thriller that centres on the role of the European churches in Africa. This film deals with questions of revenge and repentance. How does the protagonist deal with the truths he learns about his family and what do they mean for his own life in retrospect? Pius Okaba is a Nigerian born filmmaker with over 11 years’ experience in film and television, currently based in Berlin. He completed his Master’s degree in Film directing at the Met Film School in Berlin, Germany, and studied acting at the New York Film Academy in New York, United States of America. His work has been screened at various cinemas and on television channels worldwide.
Ola Laniyan, Oath Bound, 2018, short, 20′, Nigeria
Oath Bound tells the story of Nneka who has been tricked into the Nigerian trafficking industry. After four years, she decides to take risks to break the Oath with the African Gods and take charge of her own destiny. Ola Laniyan is an award-winning British-born Nigerian writer with a passion for telling compelling stories. This was recognized at the London Independent Film Festival where her work Unspoken won Best short film in 2013.
Wilmana Beatrice, Life in my shoe, 2019, doc, 28′, Uganda
Wimana Beatrice, an aspiring journalist and Congolese refugee, recounts her educational journey in the Kyangwali Refugee Settlement. Beatrice invites us into her world to understand the challenges facing young female East African refugees. Through her own eyes and voice, Beatrice personalizes the trauma of leaving the DR Congo as a young child, the struggle to access school as an older female student, and the realities of growing up in a refugee camp. Life in my Shoe is a collaborative film made through Cinelab Akademie, a Uganda-based journalism training program for young refugees, and NeeNee Productions, a US-based documentary production group. Wimana Beatrice is a young journalist and Congolese refugee living in the Kyangwali Refugee Settlement. Beatrice finished secondary school and then completed a journalism training certificate through CineLab Akademie. Beatrice’s story was featured in the award-winning documentary Sauti. She lives in Kyangwali with her husband and 1-year old daughter and continues to work to improve her community.
Benjamin Bryan, Home, 2019, doc, 6′, Australia
In his short film, Benjamin Bryan reflects on the term home and its meaning for South Sudanese refugee Gum Wetnhiak and his family, who fled their war-torn homeland to start a new life in Melbourne, Australia. In a street photography style, he waits for coincidences, searches for marginal moments and creates a black-and-white film, which develops more or less spontaneously from the accompaniment of Gum’s family, capturing sad but also small beautiful moments. Benjamin Bryan is a Melbourne based filmmaker who currently works in film, commercial and documentary formats.
John Alexander, This is love, 2018, doc, 83′, USA
At the age of 18, Rudy Love was touring the US with Little Richard. By the 1970s, he was working for The Temptations and Marvin Gaye and appearing on records with Ray Charles and Sly Stone. Yet, his solo career and the albums he produced failed to achieve success. Now, at the age of 70, Rudy Love is beginning to see his work rediscovered by artists including Jay-Z, and is finally achieving the respect he has long deserved. Featuring interviews with legendary musicians George Clinton and Mick Fleetwood, This is love exposes the shady industry wheelings and dealings that continued throughout the 1960s and 1970s. John Alexander’s documentary tells Rudy Love’s story with deep respect for an incredible artist, whose life’s work is celebrated amongst enthusiasts worldwide. John Alexander is a filmmaker from Los Angeles, and This is Love is his first feature documentary. After graduating from Harvard University in 2011, where he was awarded the McCord Arts Prize, his feature directorial debut Bender won Outstanding Ensemble Cast at the 2016 Tallgrass Film Festival.
Luca Vullo, CCÀ Semu, 2018, doc, 30′, Italy
CCÀ Semu, here we are, is how the people from the Italian island of Lampedusa define their place in the world with both pride and resignation. Surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea, hundreds of kilometres away from the mainland, Lampedusa has become the symbolic centre of the current Mediterranean migration crisis. While dealing with the ethical challenges of this global crisis, the islanders must also find responses to the local struggles of their isolated community at the periphery of Europe. Luca Vullo is an author, director, film and theatre producer based in London. Founder of the Ondemotive Productions Ltd, he has made socio-anthropological documentaries such as From Sulphur to Coal on Sicilian emigration in coal mines in Belgium, after 1946. At a later time, he created La Voce del Corpo (The voice of the Body) a docu-fiction about the gestures of the Sicilian people. In 2016, he released the documentary INFLUX, about contemporary Italian emigration to the UK before BREXIT.