This is just a tease, not the full lineup.
70 films are expected to be screened this year (with more than 30 of the filmmakers in attendance), over the 10 days of the festival (now in only its 2nd year), including several titles we’ve highlighted on this site throughout the year, like Mahamat-Saleh Haroun’s comedy Sex, Okra and Salted Butter on the narrative side, and the acclaimed documentary on activist fights to repeal Uganda’s homophobic laws titled Call Me Kuchu, leading the documentary charge.
This year’s festival will see 27 London premieres, as well as the return of the Silver Baobab award which celebrates the Best Short African Film, by giving the winner £2,000 towards their next production. Last year’s winner, Rungano Nyoni, a name we’ve mentioned a few times on this site, will be present to hand out the award to this year’s winner.
Key programming strands for this year’s festival are:
Continental crossings – mainly documentaries about Africa’s long and on-going involvement with countries such as Burma, Cuba, China, India and Ukraine.
Elections and democracy – in the wake of the recent Marikana mine incident in South Africa and the upcoming Ghanaian and Kenyan elections, this strand puts the spotlight on films that explore election processes in Africa and ordinary people’s struggles for democracy.
Mama Africa – four years after the passing of ‘Mama Africa’ herself – star singer and activist Miriam Makeba – we will pay tribute to her on our closing night and show a wide range of fiction and documentary films that look at motherhood and mother-daughter relationships in the continent.
Spotlight on sexualities – as gay people in South Africa continue to suffer extreme violence for simply being who they are, we have brought together recent films that have been made from South Africa to Uganda in condemnation of such violence as well as films that look in a more celebratory light at all kinds of sexuality in different African contexts.
Sport – keeping the Olympics spirit going is the aim of this strand, which celebrates the athletic talent and diverse sporting achievements of Africans, with fiction and documentaries about, for example, wrestlers in Senegal, Ethiopian and Sahrawi long distance runners, The Tour of Rwanda bicycle race, and the power of football across Africa.
Public space and citizen journalism – this strand recognises that Africans are increasingly teaming up to make films in collectives rather than as individuals which often speak out in favour of democracy, free speech and the creation of free public spaces for everyone to be heard; come to our own free public space, ‘Picha House presents…’ taking place at Rich Mix where you will watch thought-provoking films on this topic and join the discussions.
Expect panel discussions, professional and educational workshops, family activities and Film Africa LIVE! music nights.
Over 2,000 people attended last year’s festival and as London is home to one of the largest African communities outside of the continent, the 2012 festival is set to build upon those numbers – making it the biggest yet.
“Our programming team has travelled far and wide, from Kenya to South Africa to Ethiopia, and to festivals all over the world, to bring you the best programme of contemporary African film possible. We have viewed more than 300 African films in the process of making our final selection and we’re excited to show you what the continent has to offer,” says program director, Lindiwe Dovey.
Look out for individual profiles of this year’s lineup.