A good movie makes us curious to learn more about the person behind the camera. What inspired them to make the film? What is the main message for the audience? What is the story behind the title? Here are fifteen directors you should meet at Film Africa 2015 that will attend their screenings for Q&A sessions and answer your burning questions.
Philippe Lacôte: Run
Born and raised in Abidjan, Lacôte started his career in radio as a reporter and columnist. His first short film Sonnambula was shot in black and white and he went on to make several more short films and later documentaries. His work has been shown at several film festivals including International Film Festival Rotterdam and Toronto International Film Festival. His debut feature Run is the first film from the Ivory Coast selected for the Cannes Film Festival.
Cecilia Zoppelletto: La Belle at the Movies
Italian director Zoppelletto is the founder of Accents Film Festival. She has worked in television for over a decade as a producer for Italian national broadcasting company RAI and as a TV host and writer for the network Antenna Tre Nordest. In 2014 she completed a Masters in Film and Television Studies at the University of Westminster, during which she directed and produced her first documentary La Belle at the Movies.
Pocas Pascoal: All Is Well
Born in Angola, Pascoal became the first camera-woman in her country. She studied cinema in Paris, then directed several documentaries and short films. In 2002, she participated in contemporary modern art exhibitions with the art group Cité Internationale. Her 2004 documentary There is Always Somebody Who Loves You, was screened at several film festivals. All Is Well is her first feature film.
Bazi Gete: Red Leaves
Israeli born writer and directer Gete is of Ethiopian heritage. He completed a bachelors degree in film and television from Sapir Academic College in Israel. He wrote and directed two short films Medium Rare, which screened at the Jerusalem Film Festival and Cinema South Film Festival, and Mondial. His first feature film Red Leaves won the Anat Pirchi Award for best debut film at the Jerusalem International Film Festival in 2014 and the International Federation of Film Critics Award in 2014.
Mpumelelo Mcata: Black President
Musician Mcata is a member of BLK JKS, regarded as one of the most innovative South African bands of this generation. He attended school in Johannesburg, however he declined to pursue post-secondary education in favour of touring the world with his band. Through international tours he and his band received much critical acclaim, which lead Mcata on to directing music videos and his first documentary film, Black President.
Kivu Ruhorahoza: Things of the Aimless Wanderer
Ruhorahoza is internationally known for his feature film Grey Matter, which won the Jury Special Mention for Best Emerging Filmmaker at the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival and the Ecumenical Jury special mention at the 2011 Warsaw Film Festival. Born in Kigali he entered the film industry in 2004 working as a production assistant. His second feature Things of the Aimless Wanderer, shot with an entirely local crew, was selected for the Sundance Film Festival.
Sara Blecher: Ayanda
South African director Blecher is co-founder of CINGA Productions, a film and television production company that has made a number of award-winning drama series including Zero Tolerance, which was nominated for an Emmy award. In 2002 she won the CNN’s African Journalist of the Year award for her noteworthy documentary Kobus and Dumile. Her latest work, the highly anticipated Ayanda, has screened at film festivals across the world.
Sékou Traoré: Eye of the Storm
Traoré studied at the University of Ouagadougou as well as the Free Conservatory of French Cinema in Paris where he directed his first short film, Va. In 1992 he co-founded the production company SAHELIS. He has worked as director, producer and production manager on a number of films including A Screaming Man and Timbuktu. His feature Eye of the Storm, a story about a child soldier turned rebel leader accused of war crimes, won seven awards at FESPACO.
Tunde Kelani: Dazzling Mirage
Nigerian filmmaker Kelani drew his inspiration from the rich Yoruba culture and traditions he experienced living with his grandparents as a child and later from studying at the London Film School. He is known for his love of adapting literary works to screen including Oleku, Thunder Bolt, The Narrow Path, White Handkerchief, Maami and his most recent work Dazzling Mirage. His career includes filmmaking, directing, producing, photographer, cinematography and journalism, including an earlier stint as a correspondent for BBC, Reuters and Nigerian TV.
Lyès Salem: The Man From Oran
Dom Pedro: Tango Negro: the African Roots of Tango
Pedro had several films to his credit before his groundbreaking documentary Tango Negro: the African Roots of Tango was released in 2013. The project took him ten years of research and four years of filming. For this work he has won several awards at film festivals including International Film Festival of Luanda, International Film Festival Vues d’Afrique, and the prestigious FESPACO and has been well received across the world including Norway, Brazil, Spain, Czech Republic, Gabon and Benin.
Nana Obiri Yeboah: The Cursed Ones
Yeboah started his career as a computer software engineer and soon moved on to study filmmaking at the SAE Institute in London. He released his first feature The Cursed Ones in 2014. Being Ghanaian born and raised and having lived in London, Yeboah’s goal was to make a West African film that had the cultural intricacies needed to be a success in local African markets as well as the technical quality to bring to international audiences.
Andy Jones: I Shot Bi Kidude
British director Jones has produced and directed documentaries in over twenty African countries including major network TV series and one-off independent features like I Shot Bi Kidude where he travelled to Zanzibar to follow the last days of the world’s oldest performer. He runs Newcastle based production outfit RADiO FiLM, and is also the founder of the ScreenStation collective programming films for the legendary Mwalimu Express.
Gorka Gamarra: Lantanda
Gamarra has spend the last ten years working in human rights and transitional justice for non-governmental and international organizations in post-conflict countries such as Rwanda and Guinea Bissau. Born in the Basque Country he obtained a Masters in International Law at the Catholic University of Louvain-la-Neuve in Belgium. In 2009, he made his first documentary Umurage, which was selected for the San Sebastián International Film Festival. Lantanda is his second full-length documentary.
Yared Zeleke: Lamb
Zeleke was born in Ethiopia worked for a number of NGOs in the United States, Namibia, Ethiopia and Norway before embarking on a career as a film director. He studied cinema at New York University. He has written, produced, directed and edited several short documentaries including Allula and fiction shorts such as Housewarming. In his native Ethiopia he has edited documentary films for the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation. His debut feature Lamb premiered at Cannes Film Festival.