Director Wanuri Kahiu / Kenya 2009
A 20 min Sci-Fi film about futuristic Africa, 35 years after World War III “The Water War”. Nature is extinct. The outside is dead. Asha lives and works as a museum curator in one of the indoor communities set up by the Maitu Council. When she receives a box in the mail containing soil, she plants an old seed in it and the seed starts to germinate instantly. Asha appeals to the Council to grant her permission to investigate the possibility of life on the outside but the Council denies her exit visa. Asha breaks out of the inside community to go into the dead and derelict outside to plant the growing seedling and possibly find life on the outside.
Directors Florent De La Tullaye, Renaud Barret / France, Congo 2010
Ricky has a dream: to make Staff Benda Bilili the best band in Congo Kinshasa. Roger, a street child, more than ever wants to join these stars of the ghetto, who get around in customized tricycles. Together, they must avoid the pitfalls of the street, stay united and find the force to hope in music. Spanning five years, from the first rehearsals to their triumph at international festivals, Benda Bilili! (“beyond appearances”) is the story of this dream becoming a reality.
Red Satin / Satin Rouge
Director Raja Amari / France, Tunisia 2002
After the death of her husband, Lilia’s life revolves solely around her teenage daughter, Salma. Whilst looking for Salma late one night, Lilia stumbles upon a belly dance cabaret and though initially reserved and taken aback by the culture of the place, Lilia gets consistently drawn back to it. She befriends one of the belly dancers and is encouraged into dancing for the audience. Lilia also starts a romance with one of the cabaret’s musicians, who unbeknown to both of them, is also romancing Salma.
The Festival is delighted to host the director Raja Amari, who will host a Q&A session after the film showing.
Director Craig Matthew / South Africa
Through the creation of an innovative montage from original footage, Welcome Nelson brings an interesting perspective to the day the world’s most famous and best-loved prisoner walked free.
This short will be followed by a documentary on Robben Island where Nelson Mandela was incarcerated.
Voices from Robben Island
Director Jurgen Schadeberg / South Africa
Jurgen Schadeberg and the BBC teamed up to create this definitive documentary on possibly the most infamous island in 20th Century world history. In an age in which the freedom of the individual has arisen this island has become symbolic of the many fights that have taken, and continue to take place. This film looks at the Island’s 400-year history through the eyes of people incarcerated there. From those lepers and lunatics that were first locked up in the 17th century to their most infamous inmates Mandela, Sisulu, Mbeki, Kathrada, Mlangeni – the freedom fighters against Apartheid South Africa. ‘Voices of Robben Island’ reveals the great courage of some of its prisoners through the personal accounts of individuals such as Mandela and Mbeki. The result is not simply a moving character led film, but a piece of history in itself.
Ahmed Abdullah, Egypt 2010
Upon returning to his native Alexandria after traveling abroad in the United States for several years, Khaled discovers that time has altered and severed many of his prior relationships, namely between he and his former flame, Hadeer. Feeling alone and rejected, Khaled wanders the city and quickly stumbles into a new world: the underground arts scene. As he becomes increasingly enchanted with this counterculture movement, Khaled crosses paths with street hip-hoppers, rooftop rockers, graffiti artists and documentary filmmakers. Captivated by this diverse intersection of creativity, he attempts to pull together his limited resources in the hopes of supporting the onslaught of fresh talent. It is not long before his professional and personal life become completely immersed in music, film and art, a movement all the more extraordinary for it having not emerged from Cairo, Egypt’s bustling capital city. In addition to stringing together vibrant characters and locales, Microphone is a rich depiction of some of the most exceptional non-professional musicians the city has to offer. Just as dazzling as the music they create, their performances come to life in the film’s myriad sequences of action shots.
WWW What a Wonderful World
Director Faouzi Bensaïdi, Morocco
Casablanca, city of contrast, a modern and archaic city. Kamel, a contract killer, receives his orders by internet. He usually calls Souad to make love after his hits and, each time, Kenza answers the phone. She is a traffic policewoman. Kamel soon finds himself falling in love with her voice and tries to find her. She in turn falls in love with his face without knowing his voice. Everything gets entangled when Hicham, a professional hacker who dreams of going to Europe, accidentally infiltrates Kamel’s orders.
Director Obi Emelyone / UK, Nigeria
Mirror Boy is an enthralling journey through Gambia, seen through the eyes of London-born 12 year old Tijan (Edward Kagutuzi). Getting involved in a street fight, in which a boy is hurt, his mother (Genevieve Nnaji) decides to take him to the Gambia to live with her sister. On their arrival in Banjul, Tijan encounters an apparition of a boy smiling at him in a mirror and vanishing. Seeing the same boy in a crowded street market the next day sets in motion a chain of events that culminates in him getting lost. While Tijan’s panic-stricken mother struggles to find her son in an intriguing game of survival brinkmanship, Tijan is left alone in the company of the enigmatic Mirror Boy, who is only visible to him. A bruising spiritual rite of passage, Mirror Boy takes Tijan on a magical and mystical journey.
Manuscripts of Timbuktu
Director Zola Maseko / South Africa 2009
A journey into the hidden manuscripts through the life of one of Africa’s greatest scholars, Ahmed Baba (Eriq Ebouaney). The written work and revolutionary attitude of this powerful black icon are brought to life in this docu-drama and so finally the manuscripts and the city of Timbuktu are brought to the attention of the world by an African director in an African context.
Winner of the Walter Mosley Documentary Award – Ghana – 2009
The Athlete / Atletu
Directors Davey Frankel, Rasselas Lakew / USA, Ethiopia 2009
Running the streets of Rome in 1960, an unknown, barefooted Ethiopian man stunned the world by winning Olympic gold in the marathon. Overnight, Abebe Bikila became a sports legend. A hero in his own country and to the continent, Bikila was the first African to win a gold medal, and four years later in Tokyo would become the first person in history to win consecutive Olympic gold medals in the marathon. This soldier and quiet son of a shepherd would be acknowledged by many as the greatest long distance runner the world had ever known. One evening while returning to his home in Addis Ababa from training in the Ethiopian countryside, Bikila was involved in a tragic car accident which left him paralyzed from the waist down. Unable to walk and faced with the greatest challenge of his life, he struggled to maintain his will to live and in the process discovered a deeper meaning of competition …
Set against South Africa’s beautifully varied landscapes, this high-spirited comedy is a feel-good movie about love, commitment, intimacy, friendship and all the maddening obstacles that can get in the way of a happy ending. The film is a forward looking farce set in the new South African cultural mixing pot, as the nation strives to be defined as more than their shared political history. It’s modern day South Africa and in Cape Town the beautiful Ayanda (Zandile Msutwana) is just days away from achieving her lifelong dream: the perfect white wedding. The only problem is that her husband-to-be, the loyal, committed Elvis (Kenneth Nkosi) is 1800 kilometres away in Johannesburg. He sets off on Tuesday night by bus to Durban intending to connect with his childhood friend and best-man Tumi (Rapulana Seiphemo). But the plans start to go awry when Tumi doesn’t show up at the bus station. Not an auspicious beginning, but this is just the first in many comic and illuminating misadventures they meet along the way. In the end, the two lovers learn that celebrating their union is more about the journey than getting to the church on time.