Welcome to the 5th edition of the Africa International Film Festival

A warm welcome to the 5th Africa International Film Festival.  The selection in this edition is not only celebrating African cinema but demonstrates once more that the cinematic storytelling industry in Africa has become more compelling and visible. This year’s programme is bursting with films from all corners of the continent, as more and more African filmmakers are beginning to embrace digital technology to deliver content that entertains, engages and delights.

The official competition for Best Film which recognizes, distinctive and inspiring filmmaking will feature a diverse range of films; Red Leaves, a riveting feature debut by Israel based Ethiopian filmmaker Bazzi Gete. The feature film line-up also includes; Jonas Carpignano’s Mediterranea, Akin Omotoso’s Tell Me Something Sweet, Yared Zeleke’s Lamb, as well as Desmond Elliot’s Reflections.  The incisive Sembene, by Samba Gadjigo is a film about the late Ousmane Sembene, a pioneer and colossus figure of African cinema that features in the documentary competition together with Ireti Bakare’s Buhari and the Burden of Expectations and Toni Ayamode’s Unbroken. While Mpumelelo Mcata offers his first experimenta in the Black President an engaging conversation between the debutant director and his friend the artist, about the impact on the young creatives working in today’s African metropolis.

We chose to screen a number of films whose content are topical with issues that we hope will engage audiences and provoke debates. Thomas Sankara is Christophe Cupelin’s  beautifully rounded documentary on the late former President of Burkina Faso Thomas Sankara. There is also extensive cinematic accomplishments and much to discover amongst the rich and diverse selection of Short film and animation films. At the core of the festival’s objectives, is the talent development where AFRIFF has been engaging with its partners in creating opportunities for young people to explore filmmaking.  Amongst our shorts programme are films made by young people selected from last year’s training and talent development programme. Also included in the programme, is an interesting lineup of international panorama with films from China, Brazil, Belgium, Canada, Poland, Portugal, Switzerland, France, Denmark, Australia, India and as well as Iran.

Supporting this extensive array of films, the festival will also present key note industry conversations and engagements as well as education and training programmes. We are hoping for a busy and exciting  time of doing business, networking and celebration of Africa’s new aesthetic experience, a cinema that is in synch with the realities of today.  It is always a daunting task to go through all the submitted titles to fit in a programme that runs for a week but I would like to congratulate and thank all the filmmakers for sharing their work with us.

Keith Shiri
Artistic Director
October 2015