Film Africa is certainly hitting it’s stride. To demonstrate this we hosted two premieres; one London, one UK. Which ever one you went to, or even if you managed to make both, I think we can all agree last night was a superb evening of fantastic film.

First off we had a sold out screening of UNDER THE STARRY SKY and 100% DAKAR. Both were outstanding examples of the burgeoning filmmaking talent Film Africa loves to showcase. Under the Starry Sky – a masterful piece of drama had the audience enthralled as we followed the lives of Sophie, Abdoulaye and Thierno as they traverse the globe, some trying to set new paths and futures, some returning to their roots and confronting their pasts. The film’s global scope – Dakar, New York, Turin, left the audience breathless with it’s scale, but the film’s soul was in it’s intimacy and compassionate exploration of the fragile hopes of the film’s protagonists and the journeys of migrants of the African Diaspora. The richness and deftly handled intertextuality makes the film’s director Dyana Gaye a talent to look out for.

100% Dakar – a vibrant portrait of Dakar – the setting of West Africa’s most lively creative arts scene showcased a side of Africa that is usually ignored, favour given to focussing on Africa’s problems. 100% Dakar’s exudes passion and determination as the film’s subjects discuss their roles as Agents of Change. They see what they do as a collective cultural movement with the aim to use culture to make a difference, not just to the city that has given them so much inspiration but to the continent and lands beyond. The belief in what they do as fashion designers, Hip Hop musicians, graffiti artists, photographers, dancers and other cultural entrepeneurs, makes watching 100% Dakar a humbling experience. What constitutes culture in the West is often taken for granted, reserved only for the rich or dismissed as past times to distract from the hardships of life, is so much more to these young Senegalese people. The film’s director, Sandra Krampelhuber succinctly states at the post screening Q&A:

“Culture to the young people of Dakar exists for social change, job creation, the nurturing of identity, development and just as a gift to appreciate

It is a statement that is makes the people that feature in 100% Dakar an inspiration to all. You don’t have to work in the Arts to see the value culture brings to lives.

Congratulations to both Dyana Gaye and Sandra Krampelhuber for their terrific work. Film Africa and London will now doubt be seeing them again.

Dir. Sandra Krampelhuber with Isabel Moura Mendes, Film Africa Programmer & Moderator

Over at the Ritzy, London audiences were chomping at the bit for the London Premiere the awe-inspiring, genre defying N: THE MADNESS OF REASON and for good reason. Hyperbole doesn’t exist when it comes to this filmic ode to West Africa, directed by Peter Kruger and co-scripted by award-winning author Ben Okri. So mesmirizing was the experience of watching the film, the Film Africa twiiter feed was inundated with audience responses to the film:

Some people were so blown away Film Africa was asked to publish a review they promptly wrote after the film, which Film Africa will indeed publish.

Equally impressive was Ben Okri who literally had just stepped off a plane from Dubai to introduce and talk about the film he wrote and his relationship with director Peter Kruger. He revealed what first drew him to the project (he thought it would be interesting to write about Africa as a black man from a white man’s perspective), how he wrote the script (he embodied the late great Miles Davis’ style) and what how the film makes West Africa a character in the film (Peter Kruger wanted three layers to the film. The third layer was the land, he wanted the land to sing).

Films like these are of Film Africa that helps fulfil its mantra of showcasing magnificent African film to London audiences. Last night’s screenings were a perfect example of that.

TODAY we build of last night’s successes and offer you even more fantastic African film. Continuing the South Africa @20 Freedom Tour, Film Africa presents two excellent and thrilling documentaries SOFT VENGEANCE: ALBIE SACHS AND THE NEW SOUTH AFRICA and MINERS SHOT DOWN down at Hackney Picturehouse. The Maghreb Cinema Series and Culturama continue to showcase an array of strong Algerian shorts, including the Boabab nominated THE WINDOW, as well as Sarah Tikanouine’s empowering doc THE DESERT FOXES all at the Roxy Bar & Screen and if you feel like shaking a leg and partying the night away then you’re cordially invited to FILM AFRICA LIVE! with the fabulous El-Andaluz Quartet. We have some great North African film on offer at the Ritzy with the European Premiere of revolutionary doc A DOOMED GENERATION and Casablancan fable THEY ARE THE DOGS which is having it’s London Premiere. And there’s still time to register for a seat at BASIL DAVIDSON’S AFRICA: VOYAGE OF DISCOVERY at the Khalili Lecture Theatre at SOAS, where you’ll be treated to a FREE screening of Episode 7: Rise of Nationalism.

There’s a little something for everyone at Film Africa!
Keep tweeting and Facebooking your Film Africa adventures, it’s all very much appreciated.

Tune in tomorrow where we’ll be looking forward to the UK Premiere of NJINGA, QUEEN OF ANGOLA and the thrilling THE SUPREME PRICE.