African films to look out for in 2013


Here is a selection of eight films from five African countries to look out for in 2013, the year of the 23rd edition of FESPACO - bi-annual pan-African film and television festival of Ouagadougou.

Burn it up Djassa by Lonesome Solo (Cote d'Ivoire). Labelled "a film by the people for the people", Burn it up Djassa is about a young street hustler in Abidjan looking for a break. After shooting his first feature, Lonesome Solo escaped the war torn Cote d'Ivoire and has not been seen since.

Half of a Yellow Sun by Biyi Bandele (Nigeria/UK). The film adaptation of Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi-Adiche's Orange Prize-winning and bestselling epic, stars Thandie Newton and Chewitel Ejiofor. Nigerian investors contributed with 80% of the budget to fellow Nigerian director and writer Bandele's feature debut.

Jeppe on a Friday by Shannon Walsh, Arya Lalloo, Mujahid Safodien, Ryley Groenewald, Natalie Haarhof, Kitso Lynn Lelliot, Xoliswa Sithole, Lucilla Blankenberg (South Africa/Canada). The director's collective invites the audience to follow five people - each with their individual dreams, desires and struggles - in one Johannesburg neighbourhood during the course of one day. The collaborative verité-style documentary features the entrepreneur Arouna, a shop owner named Ravi, Vusi, a garbage reclaimer, Robert, who is a leader of an Iscathimiya singing group, and property owner, JJ.

A Letter to Mandela by Khalo Matabane (South Africa). In his latest documentary, South African director Khalo Matabane explores ideas of freedom, forgiveness and reconciliation in conversations with thinkers from across the world, including Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka, Professor Pumla Gqola and rapper Talib Kweli.

Ma George (or Mother of George) by Andrew Dosonmu (Nigeria). The speedy follow-up to Dosonmu's debut-feature Restless City
Of Good Report by Jahmil XT Qubeka (South Africa). In what he describes "a passionate homage to classic film noir", Qubeka tells the sombre tale of a small-town high school teacher with a penchant for much too young girls. The director's third feature is a captivating journey into the soul of a man who is far from mentally sane.

Soleils (Suns) by Dani Kouyaté and Olivier Delahaye (Burkina Faso). In his third film - a road movie, which transcends time and space and deals with historical amnesia - filmmaker and griot Dani Kouyaté together with Olivier Dalahaye, pay tribute to Kouyaté's late father; the celebrated actor Sotigui Kouyaté.

Yema (Ouardia had two children) by Djamila Sahraoui (Algeria). In her second feature, the director plays the role of Ouardia; a woman who lives in the isolated Algerian countryside and who has lost two sons to the violence that ravages the nation. Tarik was a military and Ali the leader of a Islamist grouping.