In 2012, SIFF (the Seattle International Film Festival) was the recipient of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences multi-year grant for its African Pictures program, which comprises of a total of $150,000 over a three-year period – funds that are to go towards showcasing the burgeoning and diverse brands of cinema that are emerging across continental Africa.
The grant would allow SIFF to really broaden and deepen its search across the continent, to find films that will later screen/premiere at the festival – including recent titles like The African Cypher (South Africa), Coming Forth by Day (Egypt), Comrade President (Camarada Presidente) (Zimbabwe), Fanie Fourie’s Lobola (South Africa), and Last Flight To Abuja (Nigeria), all well-covered on this site.
SIFF’s goal, starting at last year’s edition of the festival, has been to present a minimum of 10 African feature films annually, during the course of the three-year program, thanks to the efforts of SIFF Programmer Dustin Kaspar.
This year’s lineup of African Pictures films has been released, and it includes several titles that you might be familiar with, as we’ve profiled some of them on this site, like: the continental series of contemporary shorts that comprise African Metropolis, Chika Anadu’s B for Boy (Nigeria), Zeresenay Berhane Mehari’s Difret (Ethiopia), Ian Gabriel’s gang-lands coming of age thriller titled Four Corners (South Africa), and more, including the much-anticipated adaptation of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s award-winning novel Half Of A Yellow Sun.
“We are excited to launch African Pictures as a major program of the Seattle International Film Festival,” said SIFF Artistic and Co-Director Carl Spence during last year’s event. “With vital support from AMPAS along with other partners we look forward to the opportunity to shine a light on and bring awareness to provocative, relevant and entertaining stories being told across the continent of Africa through the medium of film.”
Kenya | 2013 | 92 minutes
Filmmakers from across the African continent paint a vivid picture of a new, urbanised Africa through innovative short stories featuring six fast-growing major cities: Abidjan, Cairo, Dakar, Johannesburg, Lagos, and Nairobi.
Nigeria | 2013 | 118 minutes
In Chika Anadu’s award-winning debut film, Amaka, a 40-year-old Nigerian woman, is expected to produce a male heir. But when the baby dies in utero, she desperately searches for a solution that would keep her husband from taking a second wife.
Ethiopia | 2014 | 99 minutes
After being beaten, assaulted, and kidnapped, 14-year-old Aberash shoots and kills her attacker in an act of self-defense, pitting herself and her tenacious lawyer against Ethiopia’s long-standing tradition of marriage by abduction. Based on an extraordinary true story.
Egypt | 2013 | 77 minutes
Cairo’s wedding festival music is made over in a hyper collision of hip-hop, electro, and folk called “mahraganat,” which flourishes across social classes following the revolution.
USA | 2014 | 120 minutes
Afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti’s magnetism reverberates through time. The social and political significance of his life’s work is considered through historic clips and scenes from the Broadway musical “Fela!”
South Africa | 2014 | 114 minutes
13-year-old chess prodigy Ricardo gets caught between two long-warring gangs, the 26s and the 28s of the pitiless Cape Flats of South Africa, just as the father he’s never known is released from prison.
Nigeria | 2013 | 106 minutes
Based on the eponymous novel, Half of a Yellow Sun follows the lives of two Nigerian sisters in the 1960s who return home after receiving education in England. The tumultuous Nigerian Civil War is the backdrop to this author-approved drama adaptation.
South Africa | 2014 | 96 minutes
From the director of Fanie Fourie’s Lobola, winner of the SIFF 2013 Golden Space Needle Award for Best Film, comes this uplifting tale of a teacher and struggling actress who enlists a South African sheep farmer in helping her prepare for a make-or-break film role.
Egypt | 2013 | 87 minutes
Amid the turbulence of the 2011 Tahrir Square demonstrations, a nameless fugitive attempts to reintegrate himself into post-revolution Cairo. There’s little dialogue but much emotional resonance in Ahmad Abdalla’s bold, sensitive, and intellectually rewarding style.
Algeria | 2013 | 92 minutes
Algeria’s most beloved director weaves the story of five Algiers neighborhoods organized according to the five calls of prayer, over the course of a single day.