Film Africa, London’s annual celebration of the best African cinema, returns for its 7th edition from Friday 27 October – Sunday 5 November, presenting 38 films from 21 countries, including 19 premieres, and 12 special guests.
Always something new
This year’s festival has a focus on Ghana at 60, Africa’s Lost Classics, bold new features (including the Opening Gala film, The Wound) and women’s stories (the Closing Gala film, Foreign Body).
Opening & Closing Galas
Film Africa 2017 opens on Friday 27 October with South African director John Trengove’s debut feature The Wound, a bold exploration of sexuality, masculinity and cultural values in modern-day South Africa. Lead actor and award-winning musician Nakhane will be in attendance for a post-screening discussion, which will be followed by an exclusive after party in the BFI bar. Nakhane will also perform live for the first time in the UK at the Rich Mix on Sunday 29 October.
The Closing Gala on Sunday 5 November will be the London premiere of Foreign Body, Tunisian director Raja Amari’s audacious and visceral fourth feature. The screening will be preceded by the public announcement of the winners of the Film Africa 2017 Audience Award for Best Feature Film and the Baobab Award for Best Short Film, which will also be screened.
Ghana @ 60
Marking 60 years of independence, Film Africa 2017 spotlights Ghana. This special strand features the European premiere of Keteke, a kinetic road trip from first-time director, Peter Sedufia; the UK premiere of Leila Djansi’s I Sing of a Well, an epic tale about the Atlantic slave trade; and one of Ghana’s most celebrated works, Kukurantumi – Road to Accra by King Ampaw. Ghana @ 60 also includes an exclusive live performance from RedRed.
Africa’s Lost Classics
Africa’s Lost Classics is a UK-wide project bringing to screens some of the greatest African films that have been banned, censored, lost or forgotten, including the restoration of some important African women’s films. Film Africa 2017 will screen Fatma 75, the first non-fiction work by a woman from Tunisia, Selma Baccar; Rage, an early work from celebrated Nigerian director Newton Aduaka, set in Peckham; and Mueda, Memory and Massacre, the first fiction feature from independent Mozambique and a masterpiece of anti-colonial memory.
Bold New Features
Film Africa 2017 presents several bold debut features that highlight the exciting period of growth that African cinema continues to enjoy. Titles include Call Me Thief, a portrait of life on the mean streets of 1960s Cape Town; Abraham Gezahagne’s I Will Not Bear Tomorrow, which delves head first into one of Ethiopia’s darkest moments in history; and I Still Hide to Smoke, where a public bath is the backdrop for director Rayhana’s brave exploration of the woman’s role in present-day Algeria.
A host of other titles in the programme showcase women’s stories. The UK premiere of Jordain Olivier’s documentary Sacred Water explores female sexuality in Rwanda; A Day for Women from Kamla Abou Zekri reflects on community, co-existence and freedom for women in Egyptian society; Alain Gomis’ sensual Berlin Silver Bear-winning fourth feature Félicité is a fascinating portrait of a single mother; and Pascale Lamache’s seminal documentary Winnie depicts the complex figure of Winnie Mandela.
Other highlights include the world premiere of Maria Khan’s documentary Di Journey, a comprehensive historical exploration of immigration and race relations in the UK’s African-Caribbean community; the latest from prolific Ghanaian director Shirley Frimpong Manson, Potato Potahto; and Samantha Biffot’s documentary The African Who Wanted to Fly, the extraordinary story of a young boy from Gabon who went on to become a Kung Fu master in China.
Film Africa is at Rich Mix, BFI Southbank, Ritzy Brixton, Bernie Grant Arts Centre, Cine Lumiere and SLG from 27 October to 5 November 2017. For programme information, check their website Film Africa.