AWARD-WINNING AFRICAN CINEMA OFFERS WINDOW ON CONTINENT
Thu Nov 22,2007
Dubai, November 22, 2007: The Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) today announced its Cinema of Africa programming segment for DIFF 2007, which will run from December 9 to 16 at the Madinat Jumeirah. The films, many of which have won international awards, represent the work of Africa’s best directors, and offer viewers a chance to see work that will most likely not appear in commercial cinemas.
The segment includes the World Premiere of Confessions of a Gambler, directed by novelist Rayda Jacobs and Amanda Lane, a poignant, comedic look at the Muslim community of Cape Town. Abeeda (Jacobs), a devout mother of grown children, falls into a gambling addiction after a chance big win at the casino. When her son dies, her addiction spirals out of control, and she finds herself deeply in debt and uncomfortably involved with dangerous gangsters.
Nashen Moodley, Programmer of the Cinema of Africa segment, said “It is very much in keeping with the Dubai International Film Festival’s aim to build cultural bridges that it will showcase, for the third time, The Cinema Of Africa. Five new films provide a window onto a remarkable and diverse continent. We are especially pleased that Confessions of a Gambler, by Rayda Jacobs and Amanda Lane, will premiere at DIFF. Each of the films in The Cinema Of Africa programme is concerned with social change, and each also highlights heroic individuals who have to muster the strength to challenge oppression, exploitation, tradition, and social convention.”
Simon Field, DIFF’s Artistic Director of International Programming, continued: “The spirit of all of these films speaks to that of the great Senegalese director Ousmane Sembène, who passed on this year at the age of 84. Sembène made films that placed at their centres not political heroes but the heroism of ordinary people. The African filmmakers whose works will show at DIFF are themselves are heroes. Despite dwindling levels of African feature production and the problem of making local cinema accessible to Africans, they continue to make films that engage critically with the continent and its people.”
The films originate from all parts of the continent, delving into its most troubling subject matter: Nigerian director Newton Aduaka’s powerful award-winning film Ezra is a condemnation of the use of child soldiers, exploring the effects of the heinous practice on one young man. As an adult, Ezra is brought before a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to recount his experiences as a boy soldier, which he can hardly recollect.
In Meisie, prolific South African director Darrell James Roodt, with great empathy and patience, tells the story of a precociously talented little girl who would benefit greatly from formal education but is held back by her traditionalist father. Modernizing teacher, Esmerelda, is challenged by local traditionalists when she tries to bring Meisie into the school system. Roodt’s impressive filmography includes Sarafina!, Cry the Beloved Country and Yesterday, which was nominated for a Best Foreign-Language Film Oscar.
Another showdown between tradition and modernity takes place in Salif Traoré‘s debut feature Faro, La Reine des eaux (Faro, Goddess of the Waters), in which an illegitimate child returns to his home village as a trained engineer in the hope that his engineering skills will aid his people, and that he can pry the secret of his father’s identity from his mother. When the villagers accuse him of displeasing the river spirit, Faro, his mission is jeopardized.
While Balufu Bakupa-Kanyinda’s Juju Factory is not set in Africa, it is very much about Africa and the after-effects of globalization. Congo Kongo is a Congolese writer living in Brussels who desperately needs to make money from his next book. His editor wants him to write about ‘exotic’ Africans for a European audience, but Kongo wants to examine the history of Congo. To do so, he must come to terms with the fact that he has settled in the very country that facilitated the assassination of former Prime Minister, Patrice Lumumba, whose spectre hovers over the film.
African films will screen throughout DIFF 2007; DIFF’s Principal Sponsors are Dubai Duty Free, Dubai Pearl, Emirates and Jumeirah.
The Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) was launched in December 2004 under the theme: Bridging Cultures. Meeting Minds.
DIFF is held under the honorary Chairmanship of His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum. DIFF is a not-for-profit cultural event, presented and organised by the Dubai Technology and Media Free Zone Authority.
As the previous editions of DIFF have demonstrated, the Festival not only presents cinematic excellence from around the world, but is also an important high-profile platform for aspiring home-grown talent.
“Bridging Cultures. Meeting Minds,” has been hailed by all as a unique and relevant theme to promote better understanding and mutual respect between different communities and countries.
Since its inception, DIFF has become an important meeting point for international and regional filmmakers and industry professionals setting the foundation for potential future collaborations.
The past three editions of DIFF have presented more than 250 films, documentaries and shorts from more than 48 countries.
In 2006 the festival took place at the magnificent Madinat Jumeirah resort. As a further commitment of DIFF’s endeavours to facilitate greater opportunities for regional Arab talent, the Muhr Awards was launched. Another first for DIFF in 2006 was the setting up of the Industry Office, which was established with a view to exclusively assist the needs of all registered delegates.
The fourth edition of the Dubai International Film Festival will take place from December 9-16 and will present the best of Arab and international cinema in the feature film, shorts and documentary formats. Building on the success of last year, DIFF 2007 will also host the Muhr Awards and the Industry Office with new features.
For any further information and regular updates on DIFF 2007 please log on to www.dubaifilmfest.com
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