And …. we are back again with a great line-up for this year’s Galway African Film Festival!!!

The dates this year are May 27th & 28th and the venue – for a change – is the Bank of Ireland Theatre at NUI Galway.

This year’s programme features 7 films (we’re hoping to add more so keep your eyes peeled!) from countries as far apart as South Africa and Morocco. We are still working on the final line-up but so far our programme includes the following films:

Saturday, May 27th

4pm – Shashamane. Giulia Amati. Ethiopia / Jamaica / UK. 2016

Bob Marley’s 1977 hit Exodus tells about the return of Jah people to Africa. This 80’ documentary records the unique experience of Caribbean, American and British Rastafari who made the journey to Ethiopia and settled in Shashamane. Shot in London, Kingston and Shashamane, this film explores the legacies of colonial slavery and offers an outstanding testimony of the joy and the pain of returning back to Africa. For the first time, the faces, the voices and the challenging environment of the “returnees” are presented to the world.

5.30pm – Tchindas.  Pablo García Pérez de Lara,  Marc Serena. Spain / Cape Verde 2015. 

Tchinda is one of most beloved women in Cape Verde, especially after she came out as a transgender person in the local newspaper in 1998. Since then, her name has become the term used by locals to name queer Cape Verdeans. Despite her great reputation, Tchinda remains humble and every afternoon she happily tours the neighborhood to sell her best “coxinhas”, a classic Brazilian treat: delicious fried balls of chicken. But every February all changes. It’s the month leading up to their Carnival, when the slow-paced atmosphere of the island transforms into a frenzied hustle and bustle as thousands flock to the streets. The days before the Carnival are hectic. Locals join forces to create something beautiful out of nothing. It becomes a «Little Brazil» as their most acclaimed singer, Cesária Évora (1941-2011), defined in one of her most famous “mornas”. This documentary is as trip to an unknown side of Africa that very few may have ever imagined.

7.15pm – Sembene! Samba Gadjigo, Jason Silverman. Senegal | USA 2015.

To speak of African cinema is to speak the name of Ousmane Sembene. Known as “the father of African film,” this was no easy title to bear, as shown in this personal essay about one of the world’s greatest artists. Sembene! takes you from Dakar, Senegal, to the docks of Marseille, France, to New York City. In a career spanning 40 years, Sembene tasted the highs and the lows, only to re-invent himself with a powerful blend of documentary, French New Wave, and Realism, creating films that shocked the sociopolitical power structures of the day. Classics like Xala, Black Girl, and Moolaade established his cinematic vision and made him an international emissary who presented the inner lives of his people on film. Told by those who knew him best and with fascinating archival interviews, Sembene! constructs a revealing portrait of a curious, cantankerous, and deeply intellectual artist. Sembene promoted a new vision of Africa, and his films injected that vision into the world. Sembene! is a testament to the power of story, highlighting how it can plant a seed of thought that crosses generations.

9pm – Tell me Sweet Something. Akin Omotoso. South Africa 2015.

TELL ME SWEET SOMETHING tells the story of Moratiwa, an aspiring writer who owns and runs a bookstore in the heart of Johannesburg. The bookstore, like her love life, is not experiencing much success. This all changes when she meets and falls in love with the unlikeliest candidate in the world, Nat, a male model, who has never read a book in his life and is desperate to be loved for his mind not his body. Against the odds, they become romantically involved but then Sashi, Nat’s now pregnant ex-girlfriend, shows up and sets off a chain of romantic complications into motion.

Sunday, May 28th

4pm – Atlantic. Jan-Willem van Ewijk. Morocco 2014.

A Moroccan fisherman sets off on an epic journey towards Europe on his wind surfboard. But the pursuit of dreams does not come without sacrifice.Fettah is a fisherman during the off-season and a windsurfing guide when the tourists come, lured by the famed waves of his village, Moulay Bouzarqtoune. Each year he makes friends with the visitors, and each year they leave. Jan (van Ewijk) is there with his g.f., Alexandra (Thekla Reuten), and Fettah falls for the young woman, despite knowing her unavailability. When they depart, he feels it’s time for him to leave Morocco as well, training his mind and body to withstand what will be an arduous journey.

6pm – Ayanda. Sara Blecher. South Africa 2015. 

In a community vibrant with migrants from across the African Continent, against the backdrop of unspoken love, a young woman tries to navigate a path for herself. But this is a world where everything keeps shifting… Everything except the one thing that really does need to change. Ayanda is a coming of age story of a twenty one year old Afro hipster, who embarks on a journey of self discovery trying to keep the memory of her father alive, when she’s thrown into a world of greasy overalls, gender stereotypes and abandoned vintage cars in need of a young woman’s re inventive touch who tries to reclaim what would’ve been, what could’ve been.

8.15pm – Kati Kati. Mbithi Masya. Kenya | Germany 2016.

Imagine waking up one day in a barren wasteland. Amnesia leaves you clueless as to your whereabouts, your identity, and how you arrived. A small group of strangers welcomes you to a nearby oasis resort, and they reveal to you the nature of this new reality. You are dead. And this is the afterlife. This is what happens to Kaleche (Nyokabi Gethaiga) in the enigmatic opening sequence of Kati Kati, writer-director Mbithi Masya’s poetic first feature film.

Kaleche is a new arrival with no recollection of her life or death. A dozen other young Kenyans are all caught in the same eerie dormant state. They want for nothing; they simply write down whatever their heart desires and it appears at their bedside the next morning.

The group’s unofficial leader is Thoma (Elsaphan Njora), who is passionate about helping the dead remember and reconcile with their fragmented pasts. But Kaleche’s presence triggers a transformation in Thoma. Their mutual enchantment with each other unearths a sinister secret of his, forcing him to confront his own denial about his death.