UK Africa in Motion 2012: Wrap Up
The seventh edition of the Africa in Motion (AiM) Film Festival focused its attention on films and events which reflected the overarching theme of Modern Africa. We invited audiences and guests to take a closer look at the new, provocative, innovative and experimental artistic work being produced on the continent; to make evident the important role Africa plays in today's global society.
Now that the curtains have closed on the 7th edition of the Africa in Motion Film Festival, we would like to thank our audience, partners, supporters, funders, and everyone who, one way or the other, collaborated with AiM for their participation, contribution, interaction and feedback, all of which contributed to a wonderfully dynamic and exciting atmosphere that drove the festival this year.
Throughout the 9 days of the festival, we welcomed two and a half thousand people to Africa in Motion, registered high attendance levels in our screenings, and had numerous sold-out screenings. This year, AiM received fantastic local, national and international media coverage; obtained a very positive response to the quality, diversity and contents of the films we programmed. In addition, guests/collaborators such as Cameroonian director Jean-Pierre Bekolo, South African filmmakers Ndaba ka Ngwane, Khulekani Zondi and Sara Blecher, Nigerian veteran filmmaker Tunde Kelani and acclaimed academics Ono Okome and Birgit Meyer 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 ever-popular AiM launch party, the AiM annual short film competition, our very exciting venture into Glasgow for the first ever AiM Glasgow festival, numerous compelling discussions, and a boisterous closing party.
Packing films in at every given opportunity, this year our programme consisted of more than 50 films - 20 of them UK premieres - from 16 countries across the continent, and encompassed documentary and fiction films exploring topics such as African urban and artistic experiences, contemporary politics across the continent, the growing phenomenon of the digital video-filmmaking industries, and current trends in African genre cinema.
Highlights from the programme included our focus on African Science Fiction; Arab Spring Documentaries, Popular African Arts and Modern African Identities; UK premieres, and much more.
The UK premiere of the multi-awarded South African film Uhlanga (The Mark), with its director, Ndaba ka Ngwane, and cinematographer, Khulekani Zondi, in attendance, provided the ideal kick-off for 9 days of celebration of African cinema and culture. Instead of the customary West African drums, this year, AiM festival guests were received by street dancers from Castle Rock Breakdance improvising to the sound of a beat box, Modern Africa style! In Edinburgh, guests moved from Filmhouse to Cargo to enjoy African canapes, South African wine, an impromptu West African fashion show, a hip hop music performance by Northern Xposure (Eunice Olumide), as well as music by Zimbabwean DJ Tribbazz. Don't say we're not good to you!
In Glasgow, our new audiences were welcomed to the first Africa in Motion Film Festival in Glasgow by a Zimbabwean street-dance group performing on the red carpet entrance at the Glasgow Film Theatre (GFT), preceding an almost sold-out screening of Uhlanga which was followed by a compelling and interactive discussion with the filmmakers. Guests went onto a glitzy post-screening reception at The Lighthouse for more South African wine, as well as a live performance by popular Ghanaian hip hop musician, Kobi Onyame, and his full band. Internationally renowned highlife/afrobeat DJ, Brian D'Souza (Auntie Flo), delighted the audience with contemporary music from all over Africa. We can safely say AiM has landed in Glasgow!
Over the next 8 days, audiences would enjoy an academic symposium at the University of Edinburgh focused on African Popular Culture in the 21st Century; An Arab Spring Revolutions seminar at University of Glasgow with Noe Mandelle (Scottish Documentary Institute); A filmmaker's masterclass with South African talent Ndaba ka Ngwane; a nollywood seminar with Ono Okome (University of Alberta); an inspiring array of films in our annual Short Film Competition including winner 'Mwansa the Great' (Nyoni, Zambia/UK, 2011); another rukous AiM Children's Day with fantastical African stories from Toto Tales; tthe hilarity of our fabulous closing party featuring a performance by Senegalese/Cape Verdean musician Sylvain.