African films fight for space at 3 Continents Festival

30 November 2018


Why are films out of Africa struggling for exposure in festivals in France? Of the nine films competing for awards in the 3 Continents Festival in Nantes, not one of them is African. But artistic director Jerome Baron says the festival is trying to keep the creative fire burning in Africa.

It's a fact, this year and in recent years, the festivals in France where key African directors' works were shown readily, today there are noticeably fewer films from the continent in their lineups. It's especially true for films from countries south of the Sahara.

The 3 Continents Festival this year is predominantly made up of Asian and Latin American films competing for the Golden Balloon.

The Festival's artistic director and programmer Jerome Baron explains that African countries in general are lacking cinema industry structure and could do with some specialised schools, for a start.

There has been little to no improvement in distribution or cinema halls in many countries, and producers are not encouraged to invest.

He says that his festival is trying to get film development going in North Africa, with the Agadir Festival in Morocco, and in South Africa where they work with Durban, to generate fresh momentum.

What about Nollywood, the Nigeran production people talk about as being plethoric? The response in a nutshell is that not all films are festival material, though they are able to thrive on small screens. It's useful to remember that the profusion of Nigerian films has its roots in their video-cassette distribution.

The 3 Continents Festival shines some rays of light on the aspirations of filmmakers from Africa. Concretely, in its Produire au Sud network workshop, younger film-makers from the three continents are invited to take part in information sessions and meetings with film professionals and producers. The six film projects selected this year are from Bangladesh, Colombia, Indonesia, Nepal, and two African countries. Read the full article on Modern Ghana here.