Nine African films at Berlin international festival

A scene from Vaya, a South African film by Nigerian director Akin Omotoso
Photo: African Courier

Nine African films will be screened at the 67th Berlin International Film Festival  which runs until 19 February in the German capital.

Vaya, a South African film directed by the Nigerian Akin Omotosho; Cahier Africain, a Swiss-German production that documents the suffering of 300 Central Africans in the hands of Congolese mercenaries between October 2002 and March 2003; Lost Child, a film by Senegalese Abdou Khadir Ndiaye and Wallay, a depiction of everyday life in Burkina Faso through the eyes of 13-year-old boy are among the African line up at the event which began on February 9.

The festival, also known as the Berlinale, is one of the biggest international film festivals alongside the Cannes and Toronto film festivals. It features German or European cinema and Hollywood blockbusters.

Up to 400 films are shown every year, and the festival, the world’s second largest audiovisual event, sells more than 300,000 tickets and hosts more than 20,000 professional visitors from 128 countries.

In the running for the Golden Bear, the highest prize awarded for the best film at the Berlin International Film Festival, is the Congo-set Félicité, a French-Senegalese production about a mother searching for funds to keep her injured son from losing his leg.

Thanks to the support of the German Federal Foreign Office, for the first time the Berlinale will provide a platform for innovative projects and ideas from the African film industry.

The “Berlinale Africa Hub” is an initiative of the European Film Market (EFM) in co-operation with the World Cinema Fund (which promotes films from Sub-Saharan Africa with the support of the German Federal Foreign Office), Berlinale Talents (and its sister programme Talents Durban, which supports talented African filmmakers throughout the year), and the Berlinale Co-Production Market.

As Festival Director Dieter Kosslick says, “The Berlinale has long-standing relationships with numerous African filmmakers, and has fostered the film industry in Africa in a variety of ways. Now, due to the support of the German Federal Foreign Office, with the ‘Berlinale Africa Hub’ we can substantially intensify that commitment. The new platform at the European Film Market will bring the next generation of African filmmakers to Berlin and offer an international forum for current technology, ideas, and developments in the African film industry”.

The Berlinale Africa Hub is a communication and networking platform for the African film industry and all EFM participants who want to know more about new distribution and marketing models that have emerged in the last few years.

As part of the Hub, there will be networking events, featuring discussions of the most important issues in sales, distribution, marketing, project packaging, co-production, subsidies, and talent development in the African industry.

Among the participants and partners of the Berlinale Africa Hub are companies like the non-profit organization Electric South from Cape Town, the pan-African online platform Mokolo, Rushlake Media from Cologne and the Goethe-Institut.

Berlinale will again this year promote the integration of refugees. The Festival has always made a point of fostering understanding, tolerance, and acceptance, as well as responding to current events in society – not only with its film programme, but also with many other activities.

Last year several concrete projects were launched to support refugees. Due to the very positive feedback of the participants and the desire to achieve longer-lasting integration, these projects will be continued and expanded.

Source: African Courier