The concept for a touring film festival that provides a platform to showcase classic and new African film was embraced by many industry stakeholders and the support for the festival has been impressive. 2006 was the inaugural year of the festival which highlighted six films and played host to a number of top directors including Kenya’s Michael Wanguhu and Nigeria’s Jeta Amata..
This year, in addition to being staged in Kenya and South Africa, as per last year, there are plans to also include festival screenings in Nigeria. In South Africa this year, the Festival will form part of the City of Joburg’s official Africa Day celebrations in Newtown. The SABC Africa On Screen Film Festival has grown in size from last year with thirteen films being screened at the Museum Africa auditorium throughout the week.
SABC Africa has once again committed its support to this festival and has identified the festival as one of its key Africa Day events. SABC Africa is a critical supporter of film on the African continent and is proud of its continued association with the festival. According to SABC Africa General Manager Gugu Sibeko, “SABC Africa is again supporting the second annual African film festival, and this year we have become the main sponsors, in so this reaffirms our shared belief in helping to promote Pan African content, as there are great many African stories out there which need to be brought to the public’s attention.”
Also lending their support once again to the festival is the Film Resource Unit, a leader in archiving and distributing films across the continent. The Film Resource Unit is proud to support initiatives such as this while they also stage many of their own events, including the upcoming Awakenings Festival to be staged in November this year.
The Festival is also supported for the second year in a row by the French Embassy who have long been involved and committed to the success of African Film.
The selection of films in this year’s festival includes a range of titles that range from serious documentaries to lighthearted comedy. SABC Africa and the Film Resource Unit have been instrumental in selecting films that represent the spectrum of Sub-Saharan African film with a number of new releases being included.
Amongst this year’s film selections is the much acclaimed “Africa Paradise” a film from Benin directed by the up and coming director Sylvestre Amoussou. The film is set sometime in the future when Europe has suffered an acute economic and political crisis that has led to severe underdevelopment, while Africa has gone through a major economic and social boom. As Olivier and Pauline, a French engineer and French teacher, can no longer live decently in their home country, they decide to immigrate to Africa yet do not manage to get an entry visa and therefore call on a smuggler. From that time on their lives turn upside down and they face the grim reality of immigration. This clever spin on a familiar tale has won over audiences and critics alike.
This film will launch the festival at a VIP function to be held on Thursday, 24th of May and hosted by SABC Africa.