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LAFF announces the details of its fifth edition

The Luxor African Film Festival (LAFF) recently announced the selected films in the festival’s various competitions as well as the jury members and the honourees. The fifth edition of LAFF will be taking place from 17 to 23 March 2016, in Luxor, Egypt.

The Long Narrative Competition will include:
Reveries of the Solitary Actor (Algeria) by Hamid Benamra; Without Regret (Cote D’Ivoire) by Jacques Trabi; Shadow of Madness (Mali) by Boubacar Gakou; Starve Your Dog by Hicham Lasri; The Unseen (Namibia) by Perivi John Katjavivi; The Missing God (Nigeria) by Ubaka Joseph Ugochukwu; Mona (Nigeria) by Anthony Abuah.

The jury of the Long Narrative Competition will consist of director Flora Gomes (Guinea Bissau), director Moussa Touré (Senegal), actor Driss el-Rokh (Morocco), actress Sawsan Badr (Egypt) and director Magdy Ahmed Aly (Egypt).

The Long Documentary Competition will include:
Funeral of My Father (Cameron) by Lorenzo Mbiahou and Milosine Tchetkou; Never They Were Not Children (Egypt) by Mahmoud Soliman; The Last Fight (Kenya) by Jackie Lebo; Duty to Remember (Mali) by Mamadou Cisse; The Bread Road (Morocco) by Hicham Elladdaqi; The Women of the Clock (Morocco) by Raja Sediki; Sembene (Senegal) by Jason Silverman and Samba Gadjigo; The Four Seasons (Tunisia) by Mohamed Zran; Roundabout in My Head (Morocco) by Hassen Ferhani; A Man for My Family (Guinea) by Thierno Souleymane Diallo; Rendala le Mikea (Madagascar) by Alain Rakotoarisoa; Rock Inspired (Nigeria) by Famous Odion Iraoya; The Siren of Faso Fani (Burkina Faso) by Micheal Zongo.

The jury of Long Documentary Competition will consist of producer Pedro Pimenta (Mozambique), film critic Hans-Christian Mahnke (Germany), director Jihane El- Tahiry (Egypt), director Khaled El-Haggar (Egypt), DoP Dr. Wael Saber (Egypt).

The Freedom Competition will include:
Beasts of No Nation (USA) by Cary Jojy Fukunaga; Towards the Forest of Snow (Cote d’Ivoire) by Robin Hunzinger; Freetown (Liberia) by Garrett Batty; Tentmakers of Cairo (Australia) by Kim Beamish; Independence (Angola) by Mario Bastos; Crumbs (Ghana); Visaranai by Vetri Maaran (India); Gnonnou (Benin) by Agnes-Maritza Boulmer; Little Go Girls (France) by Eliane De Latour; The Man Who Mends Women (Congo) by Thierry Michel.

The Freedom Competition jury will be headed by US star Danny Glover and the membership of film critic Olivier Barlet (France), actress-director Ahd Kamel (Saudi Arabia), director Ahmed Maher (Egypt) and novelist Ebtihal El-Shayeb (Egypt).

LAFF’s 5th edition has been dedicated to the name and memory of the late Egyptian star Omar Sharif, Moroccan critic Mustafa Elmesnawy and director Henry Duparc (Cote d’Ivoire).

Cote d’Ivoire has also been chosen to the country guest of honour this year on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the first production of an Ivorian film. Nawara (Egypt) by Hala Khalil, was also chosen to be the opening film of the fifth edition of the festival.

Cannes Lions announces changes to awards

The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity has announced changes to the 2016 awards which will see the Press Lions become the Print & Publishing Lions, and Digital Craft split from the Cyber and Mobile Lions.

The addition of the Press Lions is considered to be a milestone in Cannes Lions history, being the second award to be added to the competition. Simon Cook, director of Awards, Lions Festivals, commented, This is an award that s been with us since 1992. By renaming it the Print & Publishing Lions, we are evolving the category, just as the print and publishing world itself is evolving, to recognise other forms of publishing, along with best uses of press and interactive press.

Commenting on the splitting out of Digital Craft, Terry Savage, chairman, Lions Festivals, said, The Cyber and Mobile Lions juries have told us that with more and more UX and Craft focused entries, it is necessary to have experts in this field sitting on the jury. We ve chosen to split it out so that this specialist area can have its own dedicated jury, which will also make the hugely labour intensive Cyber Lions judging much more manageable going forward.

The Digital Craft Lions will celebrate the creative skills and digital craftsmanship behind the content including the quality of design, the technical execution and the overall experience across all digital platforms and devices.

Additionally, Cannes Lions has adapted and changed other Lions for 2016. After continued consultation with a network of product design advisors, the Product Design Lions evolve significantly for 2016 with expanded and redefined categories that recognise the importance of the product as both a medium and brand embodiment, with new additions including Service & Interactive Design for Products.

The Titanium & Integrated Lions are being separated, with Titanium and Integrated now being judged as standalone Lions. Elsewhere, the Design Lions see a new suite of Experience Design categories and an expanded Social section, and the Outdoor Lions grow to include a large Digital Outdoor section.

As previously announced the launch of Lions Entertainment will see two associated Lions. The Entertainment Lions will replace the Branded Content & Entertainment Lions, while the Entertainment Lions for Music are launching due to music s significant role within the entertainment sector.

Entries for Cannes Lions open on 21 January. Further details of the Lions, rules and fees can be found on the Cannes Lions website.
Source: Screen Africa 12 January 2016

Uganda: A Look At Uganda's AMVCA Nominees

The Africa Magic Viewers' Choice Awards (AMVCA) are upon us. Again, this year, African filmmakers will travel to Nigeria and, one by one, their works will weighed - and the winner will be walk home with a wooden but prestigious plaque.

After years of bad luck and being snubbed, this year, Uganda will make their debut into the awards with three nominees: two are in the same category of Best East African Film, for Joseph Kenneth Ssebaggala's House Arrest and Call 112.

There is a long shot nod for the Best Lighting Design for Francis Lubanjuma in House Arrest and a final one for House Arrest in the Best Overall Film.

Call 112 (Best Film East)

Call 112 was released shortly before the previous Uganda Film Festival (UFF) in August; it is a film about human organ trafficking, aptly set in two cages.

The film follows lives of two siblings that find themselves in the hands of human organ traffickers after they are kidnapped on their way back from school.

From the naming, it's clear that director Joseph Ken Ssebaggala is attempting to tell a dark story of the illicit business using a police angle - quite interesting.

Starring Farooq Mutebi as Paul, who was captured with his sister by guys that wanted to put their organs on the market, this could have easily come off as Uganda's most feeble attempt at making a film.

The film looked so poorly-researched and executed that it failed to be believable. But somehow it finds itself a nominee in the category of Best East African Film where it will compete with Ssebagala's own House Arrest, Mapenzi, Daddy's Wedding, Mpango Mbaya and Kitendawall.

House Arrest (Best Film East, Best Overall Film)

Ssebaggala's other film, House Arrest, is also vying for the same award; the film premiered twice last year. First, it was at corporate screening at Acacia mall during the UFF and then again at the National theatre at the end of the year.

The film is about a woman that inherits her abusive husband's fortune. But just when she seems to be enjoying it all, her deceased husband's ghost haunts her that she can't leave the walls of her own house if she wants to live.

It's a fine production, not really over the top, but watchable; at the 2015 UFF, House Arrest won almost all the accolades they were nominated for, including Best Actress, Sound Design and Director.

Much as the film boasts of a descent picture coupled with good transitions and a number of well-crafted shoots, it only stands a better chance when it comes to the Best East African Film than any other categories. Still, House Arrest remains the only East African film nominated for the coveted Best Overall Film, thus there are more chances that this nomination puts them ahead of their regional competition.

Yes, there are nominees like Kitendawall or Daddy's Wedding but they may all be weaker than House Arrest and, to make things better, the East African film bullies from Kenya are largely missing in this year's nominees' list.

Highly-acclaimed Kenyan blockbusters such as Fundi-Mentals, Strength of a Woman and Pearl of Africa, among others, are surprisingly nowhere; word has it that after the 2015 event, where all accolades went to Nigerian films, Kenyan filmmakers chose to ignore the awards, thus the low submissions this time round.

FRANCIS LUBANJUMA

He is probably the most famous film person in the industry circles. A jack-of-all-trades, Lubanjuma worked on almost 80 per cent of the Ugandan films released in 2015.

For some, he has been a sound recordist, contributed to light designing, acting as an extra, but he mostly handles the clapboard/slate. In the past, Lubanjuma has worked on Imani, The Movie, Call 112, Wako and The Superstition, among others.

Lubanjuma's biggest competition in this category comes from Being Mrs Elliot by Oluwole Olawoyin and Stanlee Ohikhuare's Common Man.
Source The Observer Kamapla 13 January 2016

DISCOP Istanbul to host Africa Pavilion

Africa will have a focus at DISCOP Istanbul, which runs from 1 to 3 March 2016, due to an arrangement offering exporters and independent producers of filmed and televised content made in Africa the opportunity to target business opportunities in Turkey, Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and North Africa; and Commonwealth of Independent States countries.

Managed by the Johannesburg-based DISCOPRO team, the centrally located Africa Pavilion will provide a dynamic environment for participants to work and relax in during the market, allowing them to reach out to the 1,500 delegates expected to attend DISCOP Istanbul 2016. Delegates represent global and regional content distributors and producers, broadcasters, Pay-Tv platforms, mobile and VOD operators.

In a context where international, regional and local broadcasters, premium cable networks, theatrical distributors and now streaming services aim for multiplatform entertainment with cross-cultural, cross-border appeal, the organisers invite interested participants to view the Africa Pavilion presentation kit.
Source: 4RVF 4 January 2016

REALNESS AFRICAN SCREENWRITERS RESIDENCY CALL FOR ENTRY

Cradle of Humankind where residents will spend six weeks (c) Gauteng Tourism Authority

Urucu Media, under the mentorship of Berlinale Talents, in partnership with The Nirox Foundation, Durban Filmmart, Restless Talent Management, The French Institute in South Africa and Institute Français’s Cinémas du Monde proudly presents REALNESS, a screenwriters residency for a new generation of African cinema.

From June to August 2016, 5 screenwriters will be invited to attend a seven-week residency to develop a new draft of their original feature screenplays. The aim of REALNESS is to provide the continent’s best emerging writing talents with the necessary time, space and support to develop their unique cinematic vision.

Week 1 The residency will kick off on 16 June 2016 with an introductory week at Durban Filmmart, Africa’s top co-production market. Residents will have the opportunity to immerse themselves in films, attend seminars and present their projects to industry professionals for feedback. Each resident will prepare a public presentation of their project at the end of the week.

Week 2 – 6 Residents will be transported to the Nirox artists residency in  the Cradle of Humankind, where they will spend six weeks working in a tranquil and nurturing living environment. During the first week, top international script consultants will conduct workshops and one-on-one sessions with the residents. Thereafter, residents will work at their own pace, with ongoing support in the form of workgroups with fellow writers, curated film screenings, producer-led case studies and discussions with visiting industry speakers.

Week 7 In the final week, residents will have a debriefing and follow up Skype-sessions with their consultants. After leaving the residency, writers will be invited to submit a new draft of their screenplay by 30 September 2016. The most promising project to emerge from REALNESS will be selected and funded to participate in the prestigious La Fabrique des Cinémas du Monde in Cannes, 2017.

REALNESS recognizes the real-life demands of most writers and that taking time to develop a screenplay is not always economically viable. To this end, residents will receive a stipend of R15 000 and all food and accommodation expenses will be covered for the duration of their stay. Please note that residents will be responsible for their own travel costs to and from the residency. We will assist in efforts to obtain sponsorship from country culture desks, embassies & other interested institutions.

While the residency will be conducted in English, REALNESS aims to accommodate non-English speaking participants by providing consultation in French and/or Portuguese where necessary.

SUBMISSIONS

Please note, the submission window is from 1 November 2015 – 31 January 2016 (or until 120 applications have been received, whichever comes first)

Applicants must submit ONE pdf dossier containing:

    a motivation for wanting to participate in REALNESS (1 page)
    a synopsis of the proposed feature project (1 page)
    a treatment of the proposed feature project (6 pages)
    a draft of the screenplay
    a writer’s note of intention (1 page)
    a short biography (1 paragraph)
    two samples of previous work, uploaded to vimeo. If selected, residents will be required to donate one copy of their previous work to the Nirox film library.

The call is open to screenwriters from across the African continent and selection will be based on artistic merit. REALNESS will hold no legal claim over the work once the residency is completed.

All submitted material must be in English however, screenplays written in French or Portuguese will also be accepted (with all supporting documents in English).

A committee appointed by Urucu and their partners will read the project entries and conduct interviews with a shortlist of candidates early in March. The REALNESS selection will be announced at an event hosted by the pavilion Les Cinemas du Monde in Cannes, 2016.

Please submit dossiers to realness@urucumedia.com

NFVF Quarterly Call for Application Submissions

The National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) recently opened the quarter 4 call for submissions of applications for funding in the areas of marketing and distribution support, and production financing.

Deadline date for applications is the 15th January 2016.

All applicants are advised to carefully study the criteria and submission requirements in all areas for which funding is being sought. Incomplete applications will not be considered.

The following categories will be considered for production and development funding, as all our other funding targets have been reached.

    Production – Documentaries

     Production-  Archive

Applicants can apply for other categories in the new financial year.

The following Festivals, Marketing and Distribution Funding categories will be applicable for applications:

    Marketing and Distribution Funding:- which entails funding for print and advertising for independent DVD distribution.
    Film Festival Funding:- which provides financial support to individuals or organisations to host local film festivals which create a unique offering for the industry
    Markets and Festivals Attendance Funding:- As the target for the year has been met and exceeded, the NFVF can only consider filmmakers attending the following festivals:
        Rio Content Market
        Pan African Film Festival
        Rotterdam Film Festival
        Berlin International Film Festival

All applications must be hand delivered or posted to the NFVF at 87 Central Street, Houghton, Johannesburg, 2198 from the 05th of January 2016. No e-mail submissions will be accepted.

To download the applications forms, click the following link: . To view the funding criteria for all the categories, click the following link:

The deadline for applications is the 15th January 2016. Please note the foundation will inform applicants of the outcome of their applications at the end of March 2016.

For any queries regarding development and production email Refiloe Hlabioa refiloeh@nfvf.co.za

For any queries regarding marketing and distribution email Lerato Mokopanele on leratom@nfvf.co.za.

Approved applicants will be required to submit a tax clearance, proof of banking details such as a letter from the bank, bank statement or cancelled cheque. These documents should be submitted to NFVF finance before payment is processed.