The London Film Festival may be in full swing but there is another film event that has a lot of people wetting their appetites. Film Africa is back for a second year. The event is London’s only annual African film festival and the aim is to celebrate the vibrancy, diversity and quality of African cinema and at the same time helping to challenge negative stereotypes about the continent. Film Africa 2012 is organised by the Royal African Society and SOAS, University of London to not only uses the festival to highlight the great work coming out of the continent but also to invest in African film-makers. Film lovers can look forward to watching a whooping 70 films over 10 days, mixed with lively Q&As, panel discussions, professional and educational workshops, family activities and Film Africa LIVE! music nights. On offer are a plethora of films that cover topics from politics, romance, global warning, folklore and the influence of hip hop.
There are documentaries about Africa’s long and on-going involvement with countries such as Burma, Cuba, China, India and Ukraine. If politics is your thing then there are films that explore the election processes in Africa and ordinary people’s struggles for democracy. There is also a wide range of fiction and documentaries that covers motherhood and mother-daughter relationships in the continents as well as Mama Africa which pays tribute to star singer and activist Miriam Makeba. A series of films have been made about the treatment of gay people in African countries; these films demonstrate the condemnation of such violence. In contrast there are also movies that looks at various sexuality in a more celebratory light. The Olympics may be over but Film Africa is keeping the spirit going by celebrating the athletic talent and diverse sporting achievements of wrestlers in Senegal, Ethiopian and Sahrawi long distance runners, the Tour of Rwanda bicycle race, and the power of football across Africa. Finally Citizen journalism is given a platform at the festival where you can see films be a collection of people as opposed to individuals.
The film that I am looking forward to seeing is Phone Swap which is directed by Kunle Afolayan. It is a comedy about two very different Nigerians who accidentally swap phones to hilarious results. Afolayan has been described as the Scorsese of Lagos and it is really great to see Nigerian films get out of that Nollywood rut and show Nigeria for what it is.
Film Africa 2012 takes place during 1st and 11th November. Check out the website for more information.