We are so excited about the diversity of our film selection this year that it was for us hard to narrow down any favourites – we literally love it all! So we couldn’t choose favourites but we did each choose a film or two from the programme that stood out the most for us to recommend to you go and see. So here are the top film picks from the Film Africa team and our Royal African Society colleagues (although we really recommend you see everything):
Jacqueline Nsiah, Festival Programmer for Film Africa: All is Well
Well, since I am only allowed to pick one I would recommend you to watch All Is Well, by Pocas Pascoal. This year the Lusophone African countries are celebrating 40 years of independence from Portugal and to commemorate with Angola, Mozambique, Guinea-Bissau, Cape Verde and Sao Tome, we selected some films to highlight the regions and show through film the developments since their independence struggles. Pocas Pascoal is from Angola and in her début she revisits the Angolan civil war and how it separates two sisters from their family.
Ogo Okafor, Marketing Consultant for Film Africa: Ayanda
I’ll have to go with Ayanda because it’s about a strong young black woman who takes matters into her own hands to make a success of her late father’s business. I love the fact that she’s a multi-dimensional character who oozes confidence with witty repertoire but natural human fear as well. Unfortunately, it’s rare to see African women depicted in films as independent and characteristic beings in control of their own lives and Ayanda for me promises to be a refreshing new feature that will finally show this.
“I’m most excited about the chance to see films from the Portuguese speaking parts of Africa – particularly The Blue Eyes of Yonta, which sounds like an exquisite and poignant story. Hot on the heels of that for me, is the film ‘Stories of Our Lives’ which is part of the From Africa with Love series – I’m looking forward to seeing a sensitive, nuanced tales of LGBT lives and loves in Africa”.
Shushan Tewolde-Berhan, Programme Officer of the Royal African Society: Beats of the Antonov
Hajooj Kuka’s documentary Beats of the Antonov is my pick from this year’s programme. I’m curious about his own journey living with and learning from the communities in the Blue Nile and the Nuba Mountains, with cultures far removed from the Arab-Islamic identity propagated by the Khartoum government. Kuka explores the impacts of intractable conflicts in his home country, and to borrow from Toni Morrison, through his film, he seems to dig deep into his own soil, showing us how communities use music and dance, not as a coping mechanism, but as a weapon as they are caught between the conflicts between government forces and rebel groups.
Emilia Melossi, Festival Guest Intern for Film Africa: Hope
I am really looking forward to seeing “Hope” by Boris Lojkine which I believe is going to be breath-taking and passionate. The film addresses one of the most important issues of our highly globalized 21st century world: the South-North migration process. It shows how feelings of sympathy, solidarity and love can override the structural frameworks of national and ethnic boundaries, and most of all, how these feelings naturally expose unrestrained individualism.
Gemma Haxby, Office Manager of the Royal African Society: Mandela, My Dad and Me
My film of choice would be ‘Mandela, My Dad and Me’. I am looking forward to hearing music from Idris Elba’s album and discovering how the death of his father plus Nelson Mandela influenced it. I am excited to see and hear the sights and sounds of South Africa and Mali, having visited both countries myself.
James Wan, Editor of African Arguments: Adama
Although it sometimes looks a bit like a cut scene from a video game, the animated film Adama – which follows the journey of the 12-year-old eponymous hero Adama – illustrates a rare depth of character and colour. Based in West Africa during WW1, Adama’s story begins when he pursues his older brother Samba who has enlisted to fight. The film may paint the story of Africa’s role in the war in broad brush strokes, but the palette of emotions it conjures up as young Adama attempts to track down his brother is heartfelt and rich.
What are your top picks from the programme and why? Let us know @FilmAfrica