Film 'Timbuktu' nominated for a Foreign Language Oscar


The nominees for the 87th Academy Awards were announced in Los Angeles on 15 January, revealing the final contenders in the Best Foreign Language Film category. The nominees include Ida directed by Pawel Pawlikowski (Poland); Leviathan directed by Andrey Zvyagintsev (Russia); Tangerines directed by Zaza Urushadze (Estonia); Wild Tales directed by Damián Szifron (Argentina); and Timbuktu directed by Abderrahmane Sissako (Mauritania). Timbuktu is the first Mauritanian film to be nominated in this category.

In 2014 the film won a number of awards including Best Feature Film at the Durban International Film Festival, Best Director at the Chicago International Film Festival and the François Chalais Award at the Cannes Film Festival.

The film tells the story of Kidane and his family, who live close to Timbuktu, a town in Mali now ruled by religious fundamentalists. In town, the people suffer, powerless, from the regime of terror imposed by the Jihadists. Music, laughter, cigarettes, even soccer have been banned. The women have become shadows but resist with dignity. Every day, the new improvised courts issue tragic and absurd sentences. Kidane and his family had been spared the chaos that prevails in Timbuktu, but when their destiny changes abruptly, Kidane must face the new laws of the foreign occupants.

Said director Abderrahmane Sissako, “When an African film, with such an intention, is in competition at a major festival, travels and connects with audiences the world over as is now happening with , all of Africa is standing behind it. I have received and continue to receive this support everywhere. It is, of course, an enormous responsibility and above all an honour to carry the hope not only of one country but of an entire continent.”

Source: Screen Africa 19 January 2015

Ugandan Transgender Web Series ‘The Pearl Of Africa’ Ep. 5 Asks “Have You Had To Convince People You’re A Woman?”

Ugandan transgender activist Cleopatra Kambugu, whose public transition and ongoing LGBTQI activism serve as the basis for Swedish filmmaker Jonny von Wallström‘s forthcoming documentary feature, The Pearl of Africa, discusses her stance within the fight for gay civil rights in the latest clip from the project. In this episode, Cleo uses the African-American civil rights movement of the sixties as an example of the struggle that gay activists can learn from and look to for inspiration.

She also shares her belief that most of the homophobia she encounters stems from a place of ignorance and confusion– a direct result of  the unwillingness of most Africans to openly engage in dialogues concerning gender and sexuality. “We are people who don’t really talk about sexuality,” she says. “And issues to deal with gender, are for the lack of a better word, almost rigid.”

It is also revealed that Cleo has been invited to a secret meeting with members of the Ugandan parliament. With only two more installments from the groundbreaking documentary left to air, we hope to see more of the activist work that Cleo engages in as she fights for LGBTQI equality . For more, follow the project on Facebook and Twitter.

Source; Okayafrica 15 january 2015