Film Africa Day One – It’s straight to business after celebrating last night’s Opening Night film Narrow Frame Of Midnight. We had a full house and the atmosphere was great as we kicked off 2014’s festival in the beautiful Hackney Picturehouse. Reception to the film was unanimously positive and people came in their droves to congratulate director Tala Hadid on her success:
Celebrations continued into the wee hours of the morn as we took the party upstairs for a very special opening night party. Where drinks flowed and spirits were high. May the positivity and celebrations continue!
With barely any time to recuperate ourselves the Film Africa team has been up and at them bringing the best in African cinema to London. We kicked off with an intimate and very honest masterclass with ‘Lady Of The Moment’ Tala Hadid, who graciously and warmly discussed her thoughts and process about filmmaking at the stunning South London Gallery. Guests were welcomed into an atmosphere of relaxation and serious discussion about Hadid’s work, her influences and her thoughts on film:
Fiction that has a conventional narrative structure, a false environment is elaborately created in order to try and extract moments or flashes of truth. For me, I work in an uncoventional sense, in a similiar vein to Abbas Kiarostami’s Taste of Cherry or the work of Mike Leigh, I seek to create as truthful environment as possible where the nuggets of truth extracted feel more natural, more potent.
Hadid’s influences including the ones mentioned gave a real sense of who she is as an artist and as a producer of culture. Her anecdotes about her photography experience were also enlightening and hilarious. Her warmth and openness and genuine interest in her audience and what brought them to the session made this masterclass a valuable and resounding success.
BUT THE DAY HADN’T EVEN BEGUN!
Today Film Africa was packed to the brim with excellent African cinema. Highlights included the wonderful Women, Entirely Women with a deeply emotional panel discussion with representatives from the Foundation for Women’s Health, Research and Development (FORWARD).
There was also the intimate and brutally honest Suffering Is A School of Wisdom. Down at Rich Mix people were up in arms about our excellent documentary double bill examinng African women’s achievement in literature with the Art of Ama Ata Aidoo and Ken Bugul: Nobody Wants Her.
Celebrating emerging talent and newcomers to African cinema was a big feature with the first of two screenings of Film Africa’s nominations for the Baobab Award. Shorts on show included the lyrical Afronauts, based on the Zambian space programme in the 1970s and Kanyekanye‘s fable about forbidden romance along colour lines.
To end the day, we had some excellent classics with Come Back, Africa which screened back to back with the harrowing and powerful 1994: The Bloody Miracle and the Battle of Algiers and the European Premiere of Fadhma n’Soumer, the historical epic about Algeria’s very own ‘Joan of Arc’ with a special Q&A with director Belkacem Hadjadj and Fadhma herself, Laëtitia Eïdo.