The African Film Festival, which held its inaugural edition last year, will bring 11 titles to Auckland in April. The line-up is split between narrative and documentary films, some of which are selected to offer some broader context for African cinema as a whole.
Samba Gadjigo’s doco Sembéne! examines the life and influence of dockworker Ousmane Sembéne, who became “the father of African cinema”. Sembéne’s 1966 drama, Black Girl, also plays the festival.
More contemporary doco titles include anthology Stories of Our Lives, drawn from an archive of testimonials from Kenyan persons who identify as LBGTI, and Johanna Schwartz’s They Will Have to Kill Us First, which follows musicians in Mali in the wake of a jihadist takeover and subsequent banning of music.
Based on a true story, the Angelina Jolie-produced Difret is the story of a young Ethiopian girl and a tenacious lawyer embroiled in a life-or-death clash between cultural traditions and their country’s advancement of equal rights.
The programme includes films from the Ivory Coast, Ethipoia, Mali, Morocco, Senegal and South Africa. The last of those is represented by Sara Blecher’s Ayanda (pictured, top), in which 21-year-old Afro-hipster Ayanda has a knack for taking neglected pieces of furniture and “bringing them back to love”.
The second edition of the African Film Festival will run 7 – 13 April at Rialto Cinemas, Auckland.