Africa in Motion 2011: It's a (very successful) wrap!

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Now that the curtains have closed on the 6th edition of the Africa in Motion Film Festival (Scotland) - which focussed on Children and Youth in Africa – organisers would like to thank participants. Here is the wrap up:

‘Throughout the 5 days of the festival, we welcomed almost one and a half thousand people to Africa in Motion, registered high attendance levels in our screenings, and had numerous sold-out events. This year, AiM received some of the best media coverage our festival has had; obtained a very positive response to the quality, diversity and contents of the films we programmed, and our film introductions and post-screening discussions were described as inspiring and poignant. In addition, guests/collaborators such as Nigerian filmmaker Obi Emelonye, French/Burkinabe journalist Claire Diao, Professor Jolyon Mitchell from the School of Divinity (Ed. Uni), or scholar Gerhard Anders from the Centre for African Studies (Ed. Uni) assured our festival continued to provide a platform for African films to not only be seen but also contextualized, questioned, discussed and reflected upon. 

Amongst the outstanding highlights of this year's festival were the (now legendary) AiM launch party, our guest filmmaker Nigerian director/producer Obi Emelonye, the AiM annual short film competition, a boisterous and eventful Children's Day, numerous compelling discussions, and a glorious closing party.

We kicked off the festival with a stunning (and sold-out) screening of Tunisian film, Bab'Aziz: The Prince Who Contemplated His Soul (Nacer Khemir: 2005) and a roaring party to signal the beginning of another wonderful festival. This included a menu of tantalising Kenyan canapés, South African wine and an outstanding performance by Zimbabwean jazz singer, Cynthia Gentle and her band, The True Tones. Commenting on the opening event, dancer Jennifer Ba stated:  "The AiM festival is well known   in Edinburgh and the opening nights are renowned for providing excellent entertainment - it was a great experience!"

The following day, we were delighted to be joined by Nigerian filmmaker Obi Emelonye. During his time with the festival he engaged in an insightful seminar that discussed the production and distribution of Nollywood films. This was one of many opportunities to discuss the film programme with leading practitioners and academics of African cinema. Throughout the duration of the festival, post-screening discussions highlighted and explored many of the poignant issues within the programmed films. These discussions covered topics of disability and domestic abuse and children's issues.

This year we presented the 4th edition of the Africa in Motion Short Film Competition and once again, the quality of the films has raised to a truly outstanding level. On Friday evening we screened the 7 shortlisted films and later announced Umkhungo (dir. Matthew Jankes, South Africa) as the deserving winner of the competition.

Another highlight of the festival and an undoubtable success was our Children's Day Programme. The day started with a hugely successful Storytelling session led by Mara Menzies, from Toto Tales. To a cinema full of half-pint sized 2-legged animals, Mara told fantastical tales of 4-legged and winged animals, weaving the engaged audience into the stories themselves. This was followed by sold-out screening of children's films: a stellar selection of short, colourful films aimed at the youth. Demanding more energy still (as only children would be able to provide), the day ended with a fantastic set of drumming and dancing workshops where children were able to learn the basic rhythms on the Djembe drums and accompanied dance moves. A wonderfully vibrant finale to the day!

The festival was brought to a close in exquisite style with the screening of a FESPACO award winning film 'Un pas en avant, les dessous de la corruption; (One Step Forward: The Inside of Corruption) followed by a mesmerising performance by Sengalese kora player, Soriba Kanout. Soriba provided us all with a much needed sense of calm and reassurance at the end of a wonderfully exciting and relentless festival. We were cordially transported to serenity via Senegal, where we will remain until the chaos recommences next year. We would like to thank all our partners and sponsors who contributed an incredible amount to the shape and execution of the festival. We look forward to working with you again in the future, and similarly, we hope to see all of our audience members again next year!’

"The sheer variety of films shown at AiM reminds us that there is no single 'African' cinema, but a whole world to explore within a continent of diverse cultures and histories... I cant wait to see what else AiM has in store in the future. I'll certainly be returning to find out"
Kieran Hanson, MA Granada Centre for Visual Anthropology, University of Manchester