Invitation to opening film 2014

We are delighted to invite you all to our 7th Galway African Film Festival. We kick off the show on Friday 23rd May at the Huston School of Film & Digital Media and would very much welcome you to join us for the opening film & a glass of wine at 5 pm.

The Festival continues until Sunday 25th May
Please go to our website for film info, trailers and a brochure with full listings of films.

All films are free. Please contact Heike on 091 530590 / 086 2100547 / for any further info.

Launch of all things Africa

Launch InviteGalway City Council & Irish Aid invite you to celebrate the Launch of Africa Day 2014 by Mayor of Galway City Cllr Pádraig Conneely on Monday 19th May, 2014 @ 11:00 am

in the Townhall Theatre

including a heart-warming community video about the meeting of two worlds; a group of irish artists with intellectual disabilities and an intercultural group from Ballybane with participants from five African countries

The Galway African Film Festival will preview a selection of  key films

All Welcome!

RSVP Sharon Lawless at 091 536498 /


FilmFest 2014

Yes, it’s that time of the year again – May and the 7th African Film Festival is soon happening!

Films are as varied as ever and include offerings from Senegal, Nigeria, Morocco, Egypt, Lesotho and many more!

Personal favourites this year:

Jonah – for creative imagination, colour and vibe

Tey – for dramatic exploration of a – very often – taboo subject

The Forgotten Kingdom – cinematic vistas that are just simply stunning

– though I’m really looking forward to seeing them all!

For details of films, screening times and venue go and visit the Festival website!

All things Africa

It must be because the autumn is Festival Season – not only do we have two African themed festivals here in Ireland (Nollywood Film Festival, September and the Carlow African Film Festival, October) but there’s Film Africa in November in London (who have teamed up with Africa is a Country – smart move!), Africa in Motion in Edinburgh (Oct. 25th – Nov. 2nd), our special friends at the Cambridge African Film Festival (November) and further afield: Africa in the Picture (Amsterdam, October), the Cordoba African Film Festival (October) and many more.

How apt then that there is also quite a flurry of articles on Africa and Film –

Nollywood: Nigeria’s Mirror (published on Africa is a Country and printed by the Guardian)

“When Nollywood gets it right, there is something marvelous in having your stories told in a way that you can just lap up like syrup. Even when you know that the story has been badly told, you still want to know what comes next. There is a self-flattering in it for many Africans. And beyond that, people are generally looking for answers for questions that they don’t have answers to, and you can’t be too sure whether the next film might provide an answer.

People swallow it like gospel. In some African countries, when an original film star is visiting, you would think it is a head of state — and that is part of what makes it bothersome for me. Young people don’t get their own history told in the right way. In many Nollywood films, it is not about getting it right. It’s not about representation.”

Lights, camera, revolution – the birth of Libyan cinema after Gaddafi’s fall (from the Guardian)

There is now a cultural vacuum in Libya, as well as a political one, thanks to the Gaddaffi regime. “There was no film-making culture here at all under Gaddafi,” says Naziha Arebi, director of Granny’s Flags. “He didn’t want anybody to be more famous than him. Even the football players had just numbers on their shirts, because he didn’t want anyone to know their names. He certainly wasn’t going to let anybody be a film director.”

Ten best African Films – well …. what do you think?

(in fact, the Guardian has a new ‘Africa Blog‘, featuring a number of writers from different African countries and the African Diaspora – well worth checking out!


Films from the Southern Mediterranean Tour

Access Cinema presents three films from the Southern Mediterranean Tour: 

3 films, 3 venues, September 30 – October 7, 2012.  

Venues : 

  • Belltable Arts Centre, Limerick
  • Galway Film Society, Town Hall Theatre, Galway
  • Mermaid Arts Centre, Bray
The Repentant from Algeria questions Government policy in the late 1990s which offered amnesty for former terrorists if they would simply repent their crimes. Is becoming a ‘repentant’ really that easy? Director Merzak Allouache’s film won the Europa Cinemas Label at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.
Adila Bendimerad, lead actress in Algerian film The Repentant, will introduce the film at the screenings at Galway Film Society and Mermaid Arts Centre. 

Footnote from Israel takes a look at the personal and academic rivalry between father and son at a prestigious university as they both compete for a major prize. It was the winner of the Best Screenplay Award at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival.

On the Edge
 from Morocco details the lives of four women working in Tangiers who dream of a better existence in the ‘free zone’ while coping with their day to day travails. A first film from a female director born in Casablanca; it was selected for Directors’ Fortnight at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival.

The tour is a joint project by Maretta Dillon and access>CINEMA. The countries that fringe the southern part of the vast inland sea of the Mediterranean stretch from Morocco on the western side all the way across to Syria on the eastern most edge. “The selected films this year are by no means definitive, how could they be in such a diverse, complex and exciting region?  But they do give a welcome insight into the culture, interests and hopes of this challenging area,” said Maretta Dillon.

The project has been funded by the Arts Council under their Touring & Dissemination of Work Scheme.

Screening details:
Galway Film Society / Booking 091 569 777 /
·      On the Edge / Sunday, Sept 30, 5.45pm
·      The Repentant / Sunday, Sept 30, 8.15pm
·      Footnote / Sunday, October 7, 8.15pm

Mermaid Arts Centre / Booking 01 272 4030 /
·      The Repentant / Monday, Oct 1, 8.00pm
·      On the Edge / Thursday, Oct 4, 8.00pm
·      Footnote / Friday, Oct 5, 8.00pm
Belltable Arts Centre / Booking 061 319 866
·      The Repentant / Monday, Oct 1, 8.00pm
·      Footnote / Tuesday, Oct 2, 8.00pm
·      On the Edge / Wednesday, Oct 3, 8.00pm

Death for Sale

Just heard that the Moroccan Thriller ‘Death for Sale’ by Faouzi Bensaidi has become the official Moroccan entry to the 2013 Oscars! We showed the Irish Premiere at the Film Festival in May, if you were there here’s the trailer to refresh your memories –

Hopefully it will come out on DVD then sometime after the Academy Awards, certainly a film I’d like to add to my collection!

African Cinema in Istanbul

Friends send me a link to an article in the Utne Magazine which looks at one man’s mission to bring African Cinema to Turkey in order to shift cultural perceptions …. Sounds familiar? Yep, I think we will have to follow this up for possible links – that would be exciting.

Dr. Mahir Saul has three things on his mind—continents, connections and cinema. He is a one-man tectonic plate, attempting to bind Europe, Asia, North America and Africa into one large land mass. For him, accepted geographic norms aside, it makes perfect sense. Now, he wants to shift and align public perception to see the world as he does. 

In early 2012, he curated the first-ever African film series, to be held in Turkey, for the Istanbul Museum of Modern Art. Saul, a University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign anthropology professor, 62, brought to the project over three decades of academic research, an entire career studying West African cultures in places like Burkina Faso, lengthy fieldwork examining Istanbul’s Afro-Turk population, and a thorough knowledge of African filmography. As a native of Istanbul, a city located in both Europe and Asia, he wanted to give something back to his country. 

Read more:

Focus Features’ Africa First Program

Celebrating its fifth year, Focus Features’ Africa First Program will accept entries beginning this Monday, May 14th and continuing through Monday, August 20th. Focus CEO James Schamus made the announcement today.
The uniquely conceived initiative, with funds earmarked exclusively for emerging filmmakers of African nationality and residence, is for the fifth consecutive year offering eligible and participating filmmakers the chance to be awarded $10,000 in financing for pre-production, production, and/or post-production on their narrative short film made in continental Africa and tapping into the resources of the film industry there. The program also brings the filmmakers together with each other and with a renowned group of advisors, major figures in the African film world, for support and mentorship. Past short films to come out of the Program have been showcased at the Sundance, Toronto, London, and Berlin Film Festivals; on The Africa Channel; and with the Museum of the Moving Image and the Film Society of Lincoln Center, among other venues worldwide. A compilation of films completed through the Program is available on DVD and across VOD and EST platforms. Complete details on Africa First – including application information – can be accessed year-round through
Africa First is supervised by Program Director and producer Kisha Cameron Dingle
(… Sometimes in April), whose company, Completion Films, has a first-look and consulting deal with Focus, and who coordinates the Program’s submissions and evaluations with Focus director of development & production Christopher Kopp. In addition to on-site work in Africa, the winning filmmakers of Africa First will visit New York City in the fall of 2012 for a weekend of one-on-one workshop discussions with each other; members of the advisory board of experts in African cinema; such Focus executives as Mr. Schamus and president of production Jeb Brody, covering topics like international distribution and the economics of studio financing; and Mrs. Dingle and Mr. Kopp.Mr. Schamus said, “In celebrating the fifth anniversary of Africa First this year, we are also celebrating the dynamic and talented group of filmmakers we’ve had the privilege of collaborating with during the Program’s tenure. The kudos and acclaim their films have generated around the world is gratifying, and we look forward to working with them again.”
In 2008, the Africa First Program selected these filmmakers and their respective films; Mr. Edouard Bamporiki (from Rwanda) for Long Coat, Ms. Jenna Bass (from South Africa) forThe Tunnel, Mr. Jan-Hendrik Beetge (from South Africa) for The Abyss Boys, Ms. Dyana Gaye (from Senegal) for N’Dar (a.k.a. St. Louis Blues), and Ms. Wanuri Kahiu (from Kenya) for Pumzi [Breath]. The winning filmmakers for 2009 were Mr. Stephen Abbott (from South Africa) for Dirty Laundry, Mr. Matt Bishanga (from Uganda) for A Good Catholic Girl, Mr. Daouda Coulibaly (from Mali) for Tinye So, Mr. Matthew Jankes (from South Africa) for Umkhungo, and Ms. Rungano Nyoni (from Zambia) for The Adventures of Mwansa the Great. The 2010 filmmakers chosen were Ms. Chika Anadu (from Nigeria) for The Marriage Factor; Mr. Lev David (from South Africa) for Down; Ms. Jacqueline Kalimunda (from Rwanda) for Sky Burning Down; Ms. Ebele Okoye (from Nigeria) for The Legacy of Rubies; and Mr. Julius Onah (from Nigeria) for Nepa Don Quench. The filmmakers selected in 2011 were Ms. Oshosheni Hiveluah (from Namibia) for 100 Bucks; Mr. Cedric Ido (from Burkina Faso) for Twaaga [Invincible]; Mr. Mark Middlewick (from South Africa) for Late Night Security; Ms. Akosua Adoma Owusu (from Ghana) for Kwaku Ananse; and Mr. Zelalem Woldemariam (from Ethiopia) for Adamet [Listen].
This year, the submissions period begins on Monday, May 14th, 2012 and runs through Monday, August 20th, 2012. The five filmmakers selected will be notified by October 2012 and will retain the copyrights and the distribution rights to their completed shorts, with the exception of North American rights; Focus retains those, as well as the right of first negotiation to productions derived from the shorts, such as a feature-length expansion.Completion is developing feature, documentary, and television projects. Its president, Mrs. Dingle, previously worked as director of development at Walden Media, and as an executive at New Line Cinema, where she oversaw the development and production of Spike Lee’s Bamboozled.
The Africa First advisory board members are Ms. Mahen Bonetti, founder and executive director of the African Film Festival; journalist and documentary filmmaker Ms. Jihan El-Tahiri; Ms. June Givanni, who for four years programmed the Toronto International Film Festival’s Planet Africa series; Ms. Sharifa Johka, film programmer and independent producer; Mr. Pedro Pimenta, producer and manager of training programs throughout South Africa; and Mr. Keith Shiri, founder/director of the Africa at the Pictures film festival in the U.K.
Focus Features and Focus Features International ( comprise a singular global company. This worldwide studio makes original and daring films that challenge the mainstream to embrace and enjoy voices and visions from around the world that deliver global commercial success. The company operates as Focus Features in North America, and as Focus Features International (FFI) in the rest of the world.