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African Storytelling in the Digital Age: New African Film Festival

Sharing observations, life’s lessons, and morals through storytelling has been a part of African tradition since the beginning of time. The 2015 New African Film Festival carried on this practice through a medium that is increasingly allowing Africans to tell their own stories—the big screen.

The one week March festival showcased the vibrancy of African filmmaking and was held at the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center in Silver Spring. Co-presented by the Africa World Now Project and Afrikafé, Southern Africa was represented by five films:

  • B’ella – Malawi (Dir. Tawonga Taddja Nkhonjera)
  • Four Corners – South Africa (Dir. Ian Gabriel)
  • National Diploma – Congo (Dir. Dieudo Hamadi)
  • Where the Road Runs Out – South Africa (Dir. Rudolf Buitendach)
  • White Shadow – Tanzania (Dir. Noaz Deshe)

Also presented over the week were compelling and eye-opening films from Burkina Faso, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Kenya, and Nigeria.

The festival opened its 11th year with a Pan African Film Festival and Founders’ Award Narrative Feature recognized movie from Ethiopia: Triangle – Going to America. The film addresses challenges many experience as they risk it all—in search of the American dream—and attempt to emigrate to the USA. In attendance were the film’s director, Theodores Teshome, and two leading actors, Solomon Bogale and Muluken Teshome, who held a post-screening discussion and joined a reception that followed. The festival ended with a screening of South Africa’s Four Corners, a 2013 Oscar selected movie and 2015 South African Film and Television Awards feature film winner. This raw coming-of-age drama portrays life in Cape Town’s Cape Flats and the complexity that comes with the presence of street gangs. 

Southern African Connection was there to capture it all, including viewers’ reactions to the filmmaking and storylines. Our crew also spoke to the festival organizers on the importance of the festival and opportunities for communities to tell their own stories. See what the crowd and organizers shared in our upcoming iReport.  (Soon to be available here on our YouTube page: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCAAlFIABvl2Yl89Ml73S-9g/videos).

 

About the Organizers
The Africa World Now Project is an educational program that seeks to merge theory with practice, through an active agenda that engages and maps the historical, political, and cultural continuities of the African world—reconnecting Africa with all of its parts! For more, e-mail africaworldnowproject@gmail.com or follow them @AfricaNowOnline.

Afrikafé is a professional network that exposes Africans and friends of Africa to new opportunities. Through networking events and a host of services, members can connect, share ideas, discover resources, and stay informed of job opportunities and projects of interest. 

AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center is a nonprofit theater of the American Film Institute that showcases the best in American and international cinema. AFI Silver also presents filmmaker interviews, panel discussions, musical performances, and other events that place the art on-screen in a broader cultural context. For more, visit them at http://www.afi.com/silver/ or follow @AFISilver.