Archive for October, 2012

Welcome to Africa now

Welcome to Africa now

As we put together the last details of Africa in Motion’s 7th edition – or as our dear trustee and wizard of words Paul Dale puts it: our lucky number seven – there is a sense of growing excitement around the AiM team. It is there because we are close to finally being able to share the positive but also critical atmosphere of films, events and conversations around contemporary Africa, in which our team has lived the past few months – with you, our audience.

We’ve programmed what we think is a wide, multifaceted and thought provoking proposition of films which cover futuristic and experimental genres (African Sci-fi, 26 Oct. & Short Film Competition, 29 Oct.), document the politically current and defiant (Arab Spring Docs, 28 Oct), uncover the fresh and the stimulating (African Popular Arts), access the innovative and newly released (more than 20 UK premieres, throughout the festival).

But, as we do, we not only want to provoke thought through the poignancy of the motion pictures we screen, we want them to generate a dialogue. It can happen through a symposium where you have the unique opportunity to reflect and hear from international scholars on African Popular Arts in the 21st Century (27 Oct.). It happens when people such as Nollywood filmmaker Tunde Kelani (MAAMi, 30 Oct. Glasgow & 31 Oct. Edinburgh) or Cameroonian African Sci-fi forefather, Jean-Pierre Bekolo (Les Saignantes, 26 Oct. & Quartier Mozart, 28 Oct.) sit down and learn by sharing with audiences who might be suffering from a ‘forced long distance relationship’ with African Cinema, but are eager to bridge the gap. It happens when children stay very still while watching animated stories, which feel funnily very close and very far at the same time – it happened last Saturday at our first Glasgow Children’s Day event, and could happen again in Edinburgh on Sun. 28 Oct. (African Films for Children).

These are the experiences we are eager to engender, and the images we cannot wait to project onto the big screen (with the help of allies in arms, Filmhouse Cinema and Glasgow Film Theatre). This is the experience of Africa cinema we want to bring and the visual stories we want to share. In the end, it might well be that you find yourself having seen some of what most provocative and new artistic work produced in continent today. It might well be that you are inspired by what you saw. It might well be that you now understand more. It might well be that Africa, its imagery, and its place in today’s global society, along with its idiosyncrasies, feel closer, and more palpable. If that is the case, then it will have been worth it. Faced with the possibility, we are indeed eager to welcome you to Africa now.

Isabel Moura Mendes, AIM director

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