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African cinema celebrated in Scotland

The largest African film festival in the United Kingdom celebrates its fifth anniversary this year. Africa in Motion (AiM) takes place from 21 October to 5 November at Filmhouse Cinema in Edinburgh, Scotland and will be screening over 70 films from 28 African countries.
According to festival founder and director, Lizelle Bisschoff, "Africa in Motion is coming of age, and at the festival's 5th birthday the diverse range of films from every corner of the continent also reflects the maturity of African cinema."
The theme of AiM 2010 is celebrations, and will showcase films from the 17 African countries celebrating 50 years of independence. Some themes at the festival will include a focus on African music and dance, sport, ceremonies, environmental progress, food, fashion and beauty, Mandela, children and youth, and poetry.
The festival opened on Thursday 21 October with the Scottish premiere of Chadian director Mahamat-Saleh Haroun's light-hearted satire Sex, Okra and Salted Butter (Sexe, Gombo et Beurre Salé, 2008). Earlier this year Haroun's talent was internationally rewarded with the Jury Prize at Cannes for his latest film Un homme qui crie (A Screaming Man).
Cameroonian filmmaker Jean-Marie Teno, one of Africa's most talented and preeminent documentary filmmakers, will be present at the festival to introduce audiences to some of his most influential films and lead a masterclass for film students at the Edinburgh College of Art. Teno has been producing and directing films on the colonial and post-colonial history of Africa for over 20 years and his films have been honoured at festivals worldwide, including Berlin, Toronto, San Francisco and London.
Alfred Muchilwa, a talented animator from Kenya will attend the festival and lead an animation workshop for Scottish children. The main focus of Muchilwa's animation work has been on creating content with a strong African flavour that is accessible to a global audience. He is currently lead animator for Tiger Aspect's Tinga Tinga Tales, East Africa's first full animation production airing on CBeebies at the moment.
Several African music and dance documentaries will explore the diverse range of musical styles and genres from across the continent; Senegalese Sabar (Kaay Fi) and Tanzanian Taarab (Tune the Drum), Moroccan hip-hop (I Love Hip Hop in Morocco), the rhythms and musical fusions from Cape Verde (Kontinuasom), world-famous Congolese musician Papa Wemba's musical extravagance (The Importance of Being Elegant), Sufi sounds and songs from North Africa (1001 Voices), Egyptian muse Umm Kulthum's musical legacy (Umm Kulthum: A Voice Like Egypt), Angola's electrifying Kuduro (Kuduro: Fire in the Museke), and colourful choirs from the Cape Peninsula (The Silver Fez).
The best of contemporary francophone African cinema will be on display with the UK premiere of Congo-Brazzaville director Léandre-Alain Baker's poetic film Ramata, featuring the stunning French/Guinean supermodel Katoucha Niane who tragically drowned in the Seine River just after the film's completion; Vietnamese/Guinean filmmaker Mama Keïta's intimate thriller L'Absence (The Absence), set in a dark and moody Dakar; Burkinabe director Dani Kouyaté's urban coming-of-age comedy Ouaga Saga; and Senegalese director Cheick Oumar Sissoko's biblical epic La Genèse (Genesis), featuring the celebrated Burkinabe actor Sotigui Kouyaté (recently in London River).
The emerging East African film industries will be represented by two brand-new feature films that are already generating a huge buzz: Caroline Kamya's iMANi, telling three separate stories and set in the bustling Ugandan capital Kampala, and the UK premiere of Nathan Collett's Togetherness Supreme, a youthful and fast-paced tale set in Kibera, one of Africa's largest slums in Nairobi, Kenya.
An evening dedicated to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, also celebrating 50 tumultuous years of independence, will shed some light on Africa's "heart of darkness", with young Congolese directors sharing their vision of their beloved country in Congo in Four Acts. This is shown alongside a screening of Fiona Lloyd-Davies's hard-hitting BBC documentary The World's Most Dangerous Place for Women. Congolese human rights activist Judith Wanga, who features in the documentary, will be present at the festival to share her experiences with the audience.
The festival has grown steadily over the past four years, from around 1,300 people attending the inaugural festival in 2006, to almost 3,000 attending in 2009. A selection of films from the 2010 programme will tour to the Scottish Highlands and Islands throughout November

1 November 2010   


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