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Full Programme

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Africa in Motion 2009, 22 Oct to 1 Nov

Welcome to Africa in Motion 2009! All screenings, unless otherwise indicated, take place at Edinburgh Filmhouse Cinema (box office 0131 228 2688 or book online at Additional events are non-ticketed and free of charge.

Opening Screening

Izulu Lami (My Secret Sky) – UK Premiere

Thu 22 Oct at 8.30pm

Madoda Ncayiyana | South Africa 2008 | 1h30m | DigiBeta | Zulu with English subtitles | 15

Izulu Lami is a heart-warming tale of two orphaned siblings who leave their rural homestead for the city in the hope to fulfil their mother’s dream. After their aunt has mischievously sold off all their mother’s possessions, ten-year-old Thembi and her eight-year-old brother, Khwezi, are left with nothing except a mat their mother was working on when she died. The traditional Zulu grass mat was meant to change the children’s lives, as their mother aimed to enter it into a craft competition. Her dream was for the mat to win a prize that could support her children and Thembi decides to take the mat to the competition herself. Facing exploitation in the city, it is Thembi’s relationship with Khwezi that sustains her quest to not only fulfil her mother’s dream but also to discover her own.

Hailed as South Africa’s answer to Slumdog Millionaire and acclaimed for the brilliant acting of its main child characters, themselves from an impoverished background, Izulu Lami is a poignant tale of suffering and redemption.

Festival director Lizelle Bisschoff will open AiM 2009 before the screening. Audience members are invited to the AiM opening celebration in the Filmhouse café bar after the screening, with African snacks and live music.

Keepers of Memory

Fri 23 Oct at 6.00pm

Eric Kabera | Rwanda 2005 | 52 mins | Beta SP | English & Kinyarwanda with English subtitles | 15

Through eyewitness accounts and gripping footage, acclaimed director Eric Kabera’s Keepers of Memory takes the viewer on an emotional and at times harrowing journey into the Rwandan genocide, its survivors, and the memorials created in the victims’ honour. The film focuses on the personal accounts of men and women who watch over the sacred burial sites keeping the memories alive for future generations.


A Love Letter to My Country

Thierry Dushimirimana | Rwanda 2006 | 34 mins | Beta SP | English & Kinyarwanda with English subtitles | 15

Set in the present, A Love Letter to My Country follows the burgeoning love affair between Marta, 21, a Tutsi who lost her family during the genocide, and Rukundo, 27, a Hutu with family members serving jail sentences for participating in the genocide.

As part of the festival’s focus on trauma and reconciliation in Africa, the documentary Keepers of Memory and the accompanying short film A Love Letter to My Country are hugely valuable testaments to the importance of peace-making and forgiveness in post-genocide Rwanda. As opposed to a number of high profile international films dealing with the 1994 Rwandan genocide, these films are home-grown productions and crucial examples of how Rwandans themselves are dealing with the traumatic memory of the genocide through film. The screenings will be followed by a discussion.

Johnny Mad Dog

Fri 23 Oct at 8.30pm

Jean-Stéphane Sauvaire | Liberia/France/Belgium 2008 | 1h38m | 35mm | English | 15

Between 1999 and 2003 opposing rebel groups fought the Liberian government in an attempt to overthrow President Charles Taylor. Thousands of people were displaced from their homes as a result of the conflict. Fiction based on horrifying fact, Johnny Mad Dog portrays the atrocities of an ongoing civil war in an unnamed African country. Fifteen-year-old Johnny Mad Dog heads a platoon of soldiers younger than himself. Armed to the teeth, they sport a variety of bizarre outfits and have adopted names such as No Good Advice, Captain Dust to Dust and Chicken Hair. Charged with overtaking a city in an attempt to unseat the government, Johnny leads his band of killers on a murderous rampage toward their destination. Meanwhile, the studious Laokolé lives with her young brother and disabled father and dreams of a better life – until Johnny’s hurricane of destruction comes her way.

Shot in Liberia, Johnny Mad Dog pulses with atmosphere and authenticity; many of the phenomenal young actors actually lived through conflicts similar to those represented in the film. They bring the weight of their experience to the screen and unleash brave and genuine performances.

The screening will be followed by a discussion.

Symposium: Realities and Representation of Reconciliation in Africa

Sat 24 Oct, 9.00am-5.00pm

Chrystal MacMillan Building, 15A George Square, University of Edinburgh

Hosted jointly by the Centre of African Studies (CAS) at the University of Edinburgh and the Africa in Motion (AiM) Film Festival.

At Africa in Motion 2009 we are planning a number of screenings and events that confront issues of trauma, conflict and reconciliation. This symposium aims to foster discussion and understanding of old and new research dealing with the various realities and representations of reconciliation in Africa. In the symposium, we want to touch on the problems and challenges facing artistic representations of these complex topics as well as the different contexts and consequences of it in Africa and in its diasporas. A number of high-profile international scholars will present their work on these topics.

Please see the website for the programme and full details. To register for the symposium please email email hidden; JavaScript is required. Registration fees for attending are £10 for students and £20 for non-students, including lunch and refreshments.

African Animation for Children – UK Premiere

Sat 24 Oct at 2.00pm

Various | 1h20m | DigiBeta | English | U

This year’s African animation programme is a testament to the exciting and growing world of animation that is emerging on the continent. The films include a variety of techniques, forms and aesthetics, targeted at all ages from the very young to an older teenage audience. Some of the highlights in this year’s programme are episodes from the series Back Yard produced by South Africa’s Anamazing Workshop. These 3D computer generated animations about the adventures of Bhovas and Sam and their friends in urban South Africa include music from the popular Kwaito genre, retaining a fun and contemporary feel.

In a similar vein, the animations from Just a Band in Kenya were conceived as visual accompaniments to the electronic music produced by the same group of talented artists. They are rapidly becoming local celebrities in Nairobi due to the novel nature of their work and the use of a hybrid of video and animated images within their performances. Fans of comic book art and electronic music will enjoy these experimental films, whilst at the same time sampling a taste of Kenyan urban culture.

Another exciting addition this year is Kenneth Shofela Coker’s 3D computer animation Iwa. This film is a beautiful modern interpretation of Nigerian Yoruba creation mythology that, whilst drawing from indigenous aesthetic traditions, is at the same time contemporary and evocative on many levels.

For a younger audience, the highlights of the programme will be South African Mike Scott’s Happy Land. These animated shorts have charming graphical qualities and a palette of bright colours that are sure to appeal to young children. The stories are simple and revolve around the brief adventures of the main characters Heavy, Float and Paper.

Also featuring this year are short animations from an educational television series currently being broadcast in Kenya to primary school children aged 9 to 10, called African Tales. Each of these short animations was developed with local East African artists, so that it presents a unique aesthetic displayed in popular art from the region. These include paintings from the Tanzanian artist Sarange Omari in the style of the Tinga Tinga art movement or the more surreal paintings of Kenyan artist Eric Shitawa from Mombasa. They offer a visual feast of colour and texture, unique to the practice of painters from the region. Our thanks to Paula Callus for her support in programming this package.

African Storytelling

Sat 24 Oct at 4.00pm

Filmhouse Cinema 2

Long ago when all was night, Moon shone with colours shimmering bright. But then his jealous brother Sun stole them all, yes, every one!

Join Kenyan-Scottish storyteller Mara Menzies on a journey of discovery with fantastic African adventures. Find out why Sun and Moon go round the world and meet a host of colourful characters. We are inviting all children and parents who attend the animation screenings earlier on the same afternoon, along with everyone else, to attend this wonderful storytelling event of African folktales.

Between Joyce and Remembrance – UK Premiere

Sat 24 Oct at 6.00pm

Mark Kaplan | South Africa 2003 | 1h08m | DV-Cam | English | 15

This moving film features one of the many terrible cases to come before the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). 22-year-old student leader and activist Siphiwo Mtimkulu and his friend Topsy Madaka were shot and burned in 1982 by the feared and brutal Security Police under the former apartheid government. Gideon Nieuwoudt, nicknamed “Notorious Nieuwoudt”, was a colonel in the Security Police. He and his colleagues were responsible for the torture, poisoning and death of numerous black activists, including Siphiwo and Steve Biko. Two days before the deadline expired, the officers finally applied for amnesty.

Filmmaker Mark Kaplan documented the case for three years, following Joyce, Siphiwo’s mother, as well as the security policemen, during which time Nieuwoudt met with the Mtimkulu family seeking their forgiveness, with unexpected and dramatic consequences. Kaplan’s camera sensitively captures the family’s difficulties in overcoming the trauma of Siphiwo’s death and the film expertly portrays the complex nature of reconciliation and forgiveness.

The screening will be followed by a discussion.

Sea Point Days – UK Premiere

Sat 24 Oct at 8.15pm

Francois Verster | South Africa 2008 | 1h34m | DigiBeta | English, Afrikaans and Xhosa with English subtitles | 15

Alongside the southernmost urban centre in Africa, separating city from ocean, lies an unusual strip of land. The Sea Point Promenade – and the public swimming pools at its centre – forms a space unlike any other in Cape Town. Black, brown, white, young, old, locals, tourists, rich, poor, Jews, Muslims, Christians, stylish, tasteless – they are all here, arriving from apparently nowhere to join the ritual of walking a man-made path along the sea. Once a bastion of apartheid exclusivity, it is nowadays unique in its apparently easy mix of age, race, gender, religion, wealth, status and sexual orientation… Yet, in a country that will not fully deal with past or present, is all as it appears?

Using innovative film language, quirky charm and a combination of film formats, this essayistic film captures not only the societal blend particular to this part of Cape Town but also the conflicts and difficulties underlying it. Intimate and original vignettes alternate with powerful scenic shots, archive footage and observations of life, all leading towards a comprehensive and surprising view on what it means to be South African right now. Sea Point Days explores memory, nostalgia, identity, and the right not only to space but also to belonging and happiness.


Notice to Quit!

Esdon Frost | South Africa 1960 | 27m | DigiBeta | English | 15

In 1950, the National Party introduced the Group Areas Act, which was to become a cornerstone of the government’s apartheid policy. This law made provision for the forced residential separation of different races, which eventually resulted in mass removals throughout the country. This film, made at the instigation of Black Sash members, sets out to show the effect the Group Areas Act would have on the mixed-race inhabitants of Cape Town. Shot during 1959-60, the film was made before the full impact of the Group Areas Act was generally realised, but in its criticism it is prescient of the heartbreak it would cause. Recovered by an archivist working at the University of Cape Town, Notice to Quit! is a hugely important document of its time as one of the first anti-apartheid films made in South Africa by South Africans.

Made almost 50 years apart, Sea Point Days and Notice to Quit! both explore and celebrate cultural diversity and racial integration in Cape Town, and both films are evocative visual love letters to this beautiful South African city. We are delighted to have Esdon Frost, director of Notice to Quit!, and Lucinda Englehart, producer of Sea Point Days, in attendance to talk to the audience after the screenings.

The Reckoning

Sun 25 Oct at 3.15pm

Pamela Yates | United States 2009 | 1h35m | HD-Cam | English | 15

Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo of the International Criminal Court (ICC) issues arrest warrants for the rebel leaders of the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda, puts four Congolese warlords on trial in The Hague, charges the President of Sudan with genocide and war crimes in Darfur, challenges the UN Security Council to have him arrested, and shakes up the Colombian criminal justice system. Will this tiny upstart court in The Hague tame the Wild West of international conflict zones and end the culture of impunity? This fascinating documentary thoughtfully explores the founding and functioning of the ICC, and emphasises the importance of justice and accountability as a crucial aspect of overcoming trauma and reaching reconciliation within communities ravaged by conflict and atrocity.

The screening will be followed by a discussion.

Nos Lieux Interdits (Our Forbidden Places) – UK Premiere

Sun 25 Oct at 6.00pm

Leila Kilani | Morocco 2008 | 1h20m | DigiBeta | Arabic with English subtitles | 15

30,000 Moroccans disappeared between 1956 and the late 1980s as the government sought to silence all opposition following its independence from France. Political activists, trade unionists and common civilians were jailed, tortured, or left to die in secret prisons. In 2004 the government established the Equity and Reconciliation Commission (ERC, the equivalent to South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission), to investigate the disappearances and “reconcile Moroccans with their history.” Between 2004 and 2007, journalist Leila Kilani followed the lives of four families making their way through Morocco’s Equity and Reconciliation Commission. Our Forbidden Places shows how the families may now learn the fate of their lost relatives. Yet resolution does not come easily, and many people feel conflicted about learning the truth. The Commission seeks to remedy that, and Our Forbidden Places shows how complicated the process of healing can be. From young Zaynab, seeking the truth about her grandfather, to elderly ex-prisoner Hassan, these are gripping stories of Morocco’s hidden past, told beautifully and lyrically. Director Leila Kilani’s film won the prize for best feature-length documentary at FESPACO 2009, the biggest festival of African film on the African continent.

The screening is kindly sponsored by Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies (IMES) at the University of Edinburgh and will be followed by a discussion.


Sun 25 Oct at 8.30pm

Ingrid Sinclair | Zimbabwe 1996 | 1h28m | 35mm | English | 15

The award-winning feature film Flame is a powerful tribute to female freedom fighters in Zimbabwe’s War of Liberation (1975-1980) and gives a rare portrait of multi-dimensional African women – stubborn, vain, clever, brave, hopeful and loving. Highly controversial in its retelling of the war, and in particular its representation of the sexual exploitation of female combatants by their male comrades, Robert Mugabe’s government did all it could to seize and confiscate the film during and after production, which it claimed was “subversive” and “pornographic.” The film survived, however, and was the first Zimbabwean feature to be selected for Cannes, screened there at high acclaim.

Flame tells the story of two young girls, Florence and Nyasha, who join the liberation army hoping for a better future for themselves and their war-torn country. The film tracks the girls’ friendship through the war as their innocence is sharply eroded when the reality of war seeps in. The interwoven stories of the two friends are based on the true experiences of female ex-combatants, interviewed over seven years by director Ingrid Sinclair. The resulting film is a strong take on modern womanhood that never loses sight of the complexities of liberation, both political and personal.

We are delighted to have director Ingrid Sinclair and producer Simon Bright in attendance to talk to the audience after the screening.

AiM Short Film Competition – UK Premieres

Mon 26 Oct at 5.45pm

Various countries | 2h | Various formats | Various languages with English subtitles | 15

For the second year, AiM has invited African filmmakers to submit films of up to 30 minutes for the festival’s short film competition. In this package, we are proud to present the films which were shortlisted for the final stage of the competition.

The films span a variety of countries and genres and are indicative of the emerging filmmaking talent on the continent. Short films often act as a platform for aspiring filmmakers and film students and most of the established filmmakers of today have all started this way. The format lends itself perfectly to experimenting with style, actors and material, so short films tend to work as showcases for cinematographers and emerging directors.

The shortlisted films are those that impressed us most; films which are well-made, stylistically innovative and original, with interesting and captivating subject matters and storylines. The winner of the short film competition will be announced directly after the screenings. The winner is selected by a jury consisting of Scottish and African film practitioners, and is awarded £1,000 to aid them in their filmmaking career. This year the jury is headed by Algerian filmmaker Amor Hakkar, who will be in attendance at the festival. The audience will also have the opportunity to vote for their favourite.

Terra Sonâmbula (Sleepwalking Land)

Mon 26 Oct at 8.30pm

Teresa Prata | Mozambique/Portugal 2007 | 1h36m | DigiBeta | Xangana and Portuguese with English subtitles | 15

Mozambique, civil war. Muidinga, a boy with big dreamy eyes, finds a diary beside a corpse and begins reading it. It is the story of Farida who lives in an old ship anchored out at sea, and who is searching for her own son. Muidinga convinces himself that he is the boy in the diary and decides to search for her. He sets off with his wise guardian Tuahir, a tough old storyteller, who finds it difficult to show his growing affection for the boy. Tuahir even becomes jealous that Muidinga might soon find his family. Like sleepwalkers, Muidinga and Tuahir wander through the war-torn landscape, both burdened with a past too horrible to remember. But amongst the devastation of the Mozambican civil war, Sleepwalking Land depicts through magical storytelling the importance of dreams, friendship and hope.


Wamkelekile (Welcome Back) – UK Premiere

Dorotea Vucic | South Africa 2009 | 23m | Beta SP | English and Xhosa with English subtitles | 15

An exciting new student production from AFDA, the prolific South African film school, Wamkelekile is the story of an estranged son, Lukhanyo, who reunites with his mentally challenged father, Simpiwe. When Lukhanyo returns to the farm where he grew up, memories of his difficult childhood flood back as he struggles to bond with his eccentric father.

Southern Africa Documentary Afternoon

Tue 27 Oct, 3.00pm to 5.30pm

Edinburgh College of Art, Lauriston Place, Main Lecture Theatre

An afternoon of three documentary film screenings from Southern Africa, accompanied by discussions. Free and non-ticketed.

White People Also Dream: The Shamanic Journey of a Sangoma – UK Premiere


Terry Westby-Nunn | South Africa 2009 | 50m | English and Xhosa with English subtitles

| 15

When Sheila Dorje’s life fell apart, this young South African began to have disturbing dreams. After some therapy and soul-searching, her dreams were eventually interpreted as a calling to become a traditional Xhosa healer – a sangoma. While globally people tend to move away from traditional cultures and towards Westernisation, Sheila, desperate to stop the relentless nightmares, went against the grain and entered an unfamiliar culture in her homeland. She began the rigorous training to become a sangoma and was given a Xhosa name, Nobuyile, which means “She who has returned”. By taking us into Nobuyile’s world, the documentary provides a rare, accessible and insightful look into the shamanic journey of a sangoma in the Xhosa tradition.


Music Crossroads – UK Premiere


Stephanie Koenen | Malawi/Germany 2008 | 30m | English | 15

The Music Crossroads IRF is the ultimate platform for up-and-coming southern African bands to launch their musical careers. Part of Music Crossroads Southern Africa, the largest youth empowerment programme in sub-Saharan Africa, this documentary takes the viewer behind the scenes of the 2008 edition held in Lilongwe, Malawi, introducing some emerging bands from Mozambique, Malawi, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe, as well as the workshops, cultural events, jam sessions, festivities and celebrations that surround the main stage event. The Music Crossroads IRF is no average music festival. It is a complete life experience that goes beyond the competition and performances, bringing youth together and changing lives forever.

Filmmaker Stephanie Koenen will be in attendance to take part in a discussion after the screening.


The Positive Ladies Soccer Club – UK Premiere


Holand Joanna Stavropoulou | Zimbabwe/Greece 2008 | 25m | English | 15

The Positive Ladies Soccer Club is a docu-drama about HIV-positive women in the populous Harare suburb of Epworth who fight stigma by taking up soccer. Medicins Sans Frontiers started working in Zimbabwe in 2000 and currently runs HIV focused projects in many areas where it provides anti-retroviral therapy for at least 16,000 people and 3,700 of them in Epworth. While working in Epworth as a field communications officer with Medicines Sans Frontiers, Holand Joanna Stavropoulou met a group of HIV-positive women whose life stories touched her. She was so inspired that she decided to make a short film about them. Stavropoulou followed the team, the ARV Swallows, from their first training session where a volunteer coach teaches them how to kick a ball. Having to deal not only with the stigma surrounding their HIV conditions, but also the prejudice of their community and their coach about women not being able to play soccer, the team eventually prove everyone wrong as they win the support and acceptance of their community. Positive in more ways than one, the women overcome stigmas and hardship with inspirational optimism.

A representative of Medicins Sans Frontiers will be present to take part in a discussion after the screening.

Francaise (French Girl) – UK Premiere

Tue 27 Oct at 6.15pm

Souad El-Bouhati | Morocco/France 2008 | 1h24m | DigiBeta | Arabic and French with English subtitles | 15

Sofia, born in France to Moroccan parents, spends a happy childhood in a provincial French town. She is an exemplary student, popular at school and in the neighbourhood. However, due to unemployment and cultural unease, her father suffers from terrible homesickness and so she finds herself on a farm in Morocco at the young age of ten. While her mother and older sister easily adapt to traditional life in the Moroccan countryside, Sofia rebels and grows in her modern convictions. She vouches to return when she finishes school. But things don’t always turn out the way they were planned.

As with Souad El-Bouhati’s other films, Francaise faces the problems of immigration and the return home. The film evokes the tensions, friendships and regrets inherent in living and growing up between two cultures while it also focuses on an adolescent girl powerfully holding on to what she knows best. Francaise features the passionate Hafsia Herzi, actress and sensation of Abdel Kechiche’s Couscous (2007).

La Maison Jaune (The Yellow House)

Tue 27 Oct at 8.30pm

Amor Hakkar | Algeria/France 2007 | 1h22m | 35mm | Berber with English subtitles | 15

The Aures Mountains, Algeria. Alya, a young girl of twelve years old, is working in the desolate fields. A police officer hands her a letter and tells her that her older brother, who was doing his military service, has passed away in a car accident. She hands the letter bearing the terrible news to her father, Mouloud. Without hesitation he braves all obstacles to go to the city in his small Lambretta tricycle to fetch his son’s body. Fatima, his wife, cannot bear the terrible grief. Will Mouloud, with the help of Alya, succeed in giving his wife some solace?

La Maison Jaune is a sensitive, colourful film in which the loneliness of the Aures mountains and ultimately the togetherness of a small community are portrayed in a visually stunning, touching and evocative road-movie. It was screened to high acclaim at FESPACO 2009, the biggest African film festival on the continent, and won the Golden Palm at the Valencia Film Festival in 2007.

Acclaimed Algerian director Amor Hakkar will be present to talk to the audience after the screening. Mr Hakkar is also chairing the jury of our short film competition, with the shortlisted films being screened on Mon 26 Oct at 5.45pm.

Seminar on Come un uomo sulla terra (Like a Man on Earth)

Wed 28 Oct, 4.00pm to 5.30pm

University of Edinburgh, 15A George Square, Chrystal Macmillan Building, Seminar Room 2

Professor Alessandro Triulzi from the University of Naples ‘L’Orientale’, who worked as a researcher and producer on the documentary Come un uomo sulla terra (Like a Man on Earth), will discuss the research context of the film in this seminar, part of the Centre of African Studies Seminar Series. The event is free and non-ticketed. All attendees are invited to join us for the screening of Come un uomo sulla terra at the Filmhouse at 6.30pm on the same day.

Come un uomo sulla terra (Like a Man on Earth) – UK Premiere

Wed 28 Oct at 6.30pm

Andrea Segre & Dagmawi Yimer | Italy/Ethiopia 2008 | 1h | Beta SP | Italian and Amharic with English subtitles | 15

In 2005, a law student from Addis Ababa fled Ethiopia to escape violent political repression, setting off for Libya across the desert border. Once in Libya, he attempted to make his way to the Mediterranean, only to be caught by one of the numerous criminal gangs that control the route. After many ordeals he was betrayed by the gang to the Libyan police, and deported back to Ethiopia. Having eventually escaped to a refugee camp in Rome, this film is his attempt to bring together his own story with those of the many other refugees who have suffered in their attempts to escape brutality at home, stories of great suffering and great dignity. Come un uomo sulla terra is a journey of pain and dignity, through which Dagmawi Yimer voices his memories of unthinkable human suffering to denounce a tragic political and humanitarian situation.

Professor Alessandro Triulzi from the University of Naples ‘L’Orientale’, who worked as a producer and researcher on the film, will be in attendance to talk to the audience after the screening. He is also giving a seminar on the research context of the film at the Centre of African Studies, University of Edinburgh, on Wed 28 Oct at 4.00pm.

The screening of Come un uomo sulla terra and Prof. Triulzi’s visit are kindly sponsored by the University of Edinburgh’s Centre of African Studies.

Mwalimu: The Legacy of Julius Kambarage Nyerere – UK Premiere

Wed 28 Oct at 8.45pm

Lekoko Piniel Ole Livilal | Tanzania 2009 | 52m | Beta SP | English and Swahili with English subtitles | 15

In Tanzania today, Julius Kambarage Nyerere is warmly referred to as “Baba wa Taifa” – the “Father of the Nation”. This documentary recognises Nyerere’s leadership in the struggle that brought independence to the Tanzania mainland territory of Tanganyika in 1961; then in 1964 brought into being the union between Tanganyika and Zanzibar which established the United Republic of Tanzania. During his years as Head of State, President Nyerere’s political and intellectual leadership reinforced his reputation as “Mwalimu” or “Teacher”. He firmly placed Tanzania at the heart of the Southern Africa liberation struggle which culminated in the end of apartheid and the establishment of a democratic government in South Africa. During his retirement he championed the cause of the Southern countries and influenced the transformation of Tanzania from a one-party state to multi-party politics. In this one-hour documentary various individuals across different generations, including members of his immediate family, discuss how he is remembered and the ideas that define his legacy. October 2009 is the ten-year anniversary of the death of this remarkable African leader, who also had a direct connection to Edinburgh through obtaining a masters degree in history and economics at the University of Edinburgh in 1952.

We are pleased to have Tanzanian filmmaker Lekoko Piniel Ole Livilal present to discuss the film with the audience after the screening. His attendance at the festival is generously sponsored by the University of Edinburgh’s Centre of African Studies; the University’s International Office; and the Tanzania High Commission in London.

A high-level event commemorating the life of Julius Nyerere is to be held at the University of Edinburgh on 9th November 2009. The event marks ten years since Mwalimu’s death, and sixty years since he enrolled at the University to undertake his studies.

Women’s Documentary Afternoon

Thu 29 Oct, 1.00pm to 5.00pm

Edinburgh College of Art, Lauriston Place, Main Lecture Theatre

An afternoon of African documentary film screenings by female filmmakers and addressing female themes, accompanied by discussions. Free and non-ticketed.

Sanctum I and II – UK Premiere


Jeannette Ginslov | South Africa/UK 2009 | 14m | 15

Experimental dance pieces Sanctum I and II reveal and amplify the kinaesthetic and emotional struggle of silenced yet complicit women bound by the ‘cultural practice’ of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). The pieces attempt to elicit empathetic responses from the viewer to this human rights issue and reveal the power of the moving image as experiential and embodied.


Yandé Codou, la griotte de Senghor (Yandé Codou, the griot of Senghor) – UK Premiere


Angèle Diabang Brener | Senegal 2008 | 52m | French with English subtitles | 15

The 80-year old Yandé Codou Sene is one of the last great singers of polyphonic Serere poetry. This film is an intimate look at a diva who has lived through the history of Senegal at the side of one his greatest near-mythical figures, president-poet Leopold Sedar Senghor, the first president of independent Senegal.


En Attendant Les Hommes (Awaiting for Men)


Katy Lena Ndiaye | Mauritania 2007 | 56m | Language |15

This revealing documentary explores the tradition of female wall-painting in the village of Oualata, a Mauritanian town on the edge of the Sahara. While speaking about their art, the women also talk about their views on sexuality and desire. In a society dominated by religion, tradition and men, they express themselves without restriction, resulting in an intimate portrait of these women’s lives.


Hier encore, je t’espérais toujours (Yesterday Still Hoping) – UK premiere


Catherine Veaux-Logeat | France/Guinea 2008 | French with English subtitles | 1h10m | 15

Nadine Bari leads us down the roads of Guinea in search of her Guinean husband, who disappeared under the brutal regime of Sekou Touré. Along the way, she recounts her long battle with political authorities to find out the truth about her husband’s disappearance. Full of great hope and profound despair, her story resembles that of thousands of women still seeking the truth about the fate of their missing husbands, fathers, brothers and sons. In 2007, her determination inspired the UN signing of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance. Inspired by Nadine Bari’s autobiographical novels, Yesterday Still Hoping goes to the heart of both her investigation and her story of enduring love. The film is dedicated to the thousands of victims of enforced disappearance around the world.

We hope that filmmaker Catherine Drolet will be present at the screening to take part in a discussion afterwards.

No Time to Die

Thu 29 Oct at 6.00pm

King Ampaw | Ghana/Germany 2006 | 1h35m | Beta SP | English | 15

Pioneering Ghanaian filmmaker King Ampaw’s film is a charming comedy about the romantic travails of a lovestruck hearse driver. Asante, the hearse driver, meets and falls in love with a young, beautiful dancer who is planning an elaborate home-going celebration for her mother. The film follows Asante as he does everything to win the affections of the woman of his dreams. Death and funeral traditions play a significant role in African culture; No Time to Die is Ampaw’s contribution to passing the tradition onto the next generation.

Ampaw, in only his third feature in a quarter-century, fully explores the colour, absurdity and acceptance of social ritual in this farcical film.

Atletu (The Athlete)

Thu 29 Oct at 8.30pm

Davey Frankel & Rasselas Lakew | Ethiopia/US/Germany 2009 | 1h29m | DigiBeta | English and Amharic with English subtitles | 15

Running the streets of Rome in 1960, an unknown, barefoot Ethiopian man stunned the world by winning Olympic gold in the marathon. Overnight, Abebe Bikila became a sports legend. A hero in his own country and to the continent, Bikila was the first African to win a gold medal and, four years later in Tokyo, the first person in history to win consecutive Olympic gold medals in the marathon. This soldier and quiet son of a shepherd is considered by many the greatest long-distance runner in history. But his life story only began with Olympic medals. One evening while returning to his home in Addis Ababa after training in the Ethiopian countryside, fate would present this remarkable champion with his greatest challenge.

A truly unique approach to the biographical picture, Atletu focuses on the final years of Bikila’s life: His quest to regain Olympic glory, his tragic accident, and his determination to compete again. Atletu is an extraordinary narrative feature that seamlessly blends autobiography, biopic, drama and documentary. One of the audience favourites at the Edinburgh International Film Festival this year, we are delighted to present another opportunity to see this beautiful and moving independent film.

The screening of Atletu is kindly sponsored by Global Concerns Trust and Tools for Self Reliance. The Global Concerns Trust is a small International Development charity based in Edinburgh that partners grassroots project in India, Kenya and Malawi initiated by local activists. The charity’s project in Malawi is in partnership with the Tools for Self Reliance (TFSR) workshops.

Masterclass – Wanuri Kahiu

Fri 30 Oct, 2.00pm to 5.00pm

Edinburgh College of Art, Lauriston Place, Board Room

“My first concern is making films for and about Africans; films that celebrate the people, the traditions and the land that are the life-source of art and culture.”

Wanuri Kahiu’s passion for film started at 16, where she worked with Ace Communications on a documentary about FGM (Female Genital Mutilation). Since then, Wanuri has worked as a Production intern at Pinewood Studios, London; a Production Assistant in Alexandria Productions, Virginia; and as a Director’s Intern at Paramount Studios, Hollywood, during the production of Italian Job directed by F. Gary Gray. After attending UCLA’s Master program in Film Directing, Wanuri’s professional debut was directing a behind-the-scenes documentary The Spark that Unites (2006) for the film Catch-A-Fire (Universal Films/ Working Title) directed by Phillip Noyce. Wanuri honed her filmmaking skills with her first Kenyan film Ras Star in 2007. In 2008, Wanuri completed her first feature film From A Whisper based on the real life events surrounding the August 7, twin bombings of US Embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam in 1998. The film recently won awards at the Africa Movie Academy Awards including Best Director and Best Picture. It also won the Golden Dhow award for Best East African Picture at Zanzibar International Film Festival and is still doing the festival route internationally. As part of their flagship series ‘The Great Africans’, M-Net have again commissioned Wanuri to direct a documentary about the life of Nobel peace Prize laureate Wangari Maathai entitled For Our Land (2009). Currently in post production on Pumzi, Wanuri works on a futuristic Sci-Fi short film that sees her explore new frontiers on the subject of environmental degradation.

The masterclass is free and non-ticketed. Wanuri Kahiu’s award-winning debut feature From a Whisper will be screened on Sun 1 Nov at Filmhouse Cinema.

Kinshasa Palace – UK Premiere

Fri 30 Oct at 6.00pm

Zeka Laplaine | DRC 2006 | 1h10m | Beta SP | French with English subtitles | 15

Kinshasa Palace is an engrossing study of family displacement and the socially corrosive ramifications of the recent African diaspora. Through this docu-fiction film, Zeka Laplaine deals with his brother’s disappearance and the family dynamics that may have contributed to his departure. The Laplaine family is scattered around Europe and Africa, refugees from the wars in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Kaze (an anagram of the filmmaker’s own first name) and younger brother Max live in Paris, though recently Max has gone missing and the family is beginning to worry. Kaze assumes his brother just needed to escape for a bit, but as time goes on, he starts looking through Max’s things to find some answers. Videos shot by his brother during trips to Lisbon, Kinshasa and Brussels show a man trying to come to terms with the personal legacy of his homeland’s upheavals, through interviews with his white father and black mother, as well as numerous siblings. Filmed discussions Max had with his bright young kids Ambre and Gaspard give hints of his planned disappearance, so when Kaze finds a letter from Cambodia addressed to Max, he makes the trip to Siem Reap to try to track him down.

District 9

Fri 30 Oct at 8.30pm

Neill Blomkamp | USA/New Zealand 2009 | 1h51m | 35mm | English and Nyanja with English subtitles | 15

Set in a futuristic Johannesburg, aliens first made contact with the earth 30 years previously. Humans were waiting for a hostile attack, or giant technological advances, but neither came. Instead, the aliens were refugees, the last survivors of their home world. The aliens were set up in a makeshift home in South Africa’s District 9 while the world’s nations decided what to do with them. Control over the aliens has been contracted to Multi-National United (MNU), a private company uninterested in the aliens’ welfare, that will receive tremendous profits if they can learn how to use the aliens’ weaponry. So far they have failed, as activation of the weaponry requires alien DNA. The tension between the aliens and humans comes to a head when an MNU field operative, Wikus van der Merwe, contracts a mysterious virus that begins changing his DNA.

Expat South African director Neill Blomkamp’s science fiction feature, produced by Peter Jackson, opened with tremendous box office success in the US, earning back its $30 million budget in its opening weekend. Containing all the spectacular elements of a sci-fi blockbuster, District 9 also cunningly invokes South Africa’s past through its political subtext of exploitation and xenophobia.

The screening of District 9 is kindly sponsored by the University of Edinburgh’s Centre of African Studies.

The Great Dance: A Hunter’s Story

Sat 31 Oct at 3.30pm

Craig Foster and Damon Foster | South Africa/US 2000 | 1h30m | 35mm | English | 15

The Great Dance is a fascinating documentary by the award-winning Foster brothers (who also directed Cosmic Africa, screened at Filmhouse to a large audience in April this year) that examines the unique relationship between the Kalahari Desert Bushmen and the harsh landscape of the Kalahari Desert in Southern Africa. Filmed through the eyes of !Nqate, a hunter, the documentary follows the life of !Nqate as a hunter and tracker. The film is the raw and poignant story of !Nqate’s survival, as told in his own words. The never-before-seen footage of the death-defying ‘chasing hunt’, for which the Kalahari Bushmen are famous, makes this a unique and remarkable cinematic experience.

Mambety Double Bill

Le Franc

Sat 31 Oct at 5.45pm

Djibril Diop Mambety | Senegal/Switzerland/France 1994 | 44m | DigiBeta | Wolof with English subtitles | 15

Le Franc is the first in a planned, but unfinished, trilogy in which Mambety gives tribute to the poor, whom he describes as “the only truly consistent, unaffected people in the world, for whom every morning brings the same essential question: how to preserve what is essential to themselves.” He uses the French government’s devastating 50% devaluation of the West African franc in 1994 as the basis for a trenchant yet whimsical parable of the life of millions in Africa today. The hero of the tale is Marigo, a down-on-his-luck musician whose formidable landlady has confiscated his congoma (a kind of guitar) as payment for back rent. Played with slapstick gusto by Dieye Ma Dieye, Marigo is a kind of everyman, a West African equivalent of Charlie Chaplin’s “little tramp.” In a desperate attempt to pay his rent and reclaim his congoma, he buys a lottery ticket. When he wins, he finds that redeeming the ticket is no easy feat…


La Petite Vendeuse du Soleil (The Little Girl who Sold the Sun)

Djibril Diop Mambety | Senegal/France/Switzerland/Germany 1999 | 45m | DigiBeta | French/Wolof with English subtitles | 15

Conceived as the second instalment of an unfinished trilogy of dramatic shorts entitled “Tales of Little People”, Mambety works in a much simpler style than his two feature films Touki Bouki and Hyenas, which reflects his move beyond documenting Africa’s victimisation towards envisioning the continent’s recovery. Consequently, La Petite Vendeuse du Soleil is a luminous portrait of a young handicapped girl and her determination to be a street vendor of Le Soleil, the national newspaper of Senegal, against the wishes of the other street boys. It is at once a tribute to the indomitable spirit of the street children of Dakar and to the individual’s capability for transforming her situation.

This double bill has kindly been sponsored by the University of Stirling’s School of Languages, Cultures and Religions.

Tilai (The Law)

Sat 31 Oct at 8.00pm

Idrissa Ouedraogo | Switzerland/UK/France/Burkina Faso/Germany 1990 | 1h21m | DigiBeta | More with English subtitles | 15

Set in a pre-colonial African past, Tilai is about an illicit love affair and its consequences. Saga returns to his village after an extended absence to discover that his father has taken Nogma, Saga’s promised bride, for himself. Still in love with each other, the two begin an affair, although it would be considered incestuous. In Burkina Faso, the concept of honour is essential in the structure of traditional societies, and it rules over any notion of family and blood. Ya tilaï, that is the law.

The film delicately portrays the complexities of traditional law and customs in a West African village, though it ultimately speaks to a universal humanity through its unconventional love story. Highly acclaimed Burkinabe director Idrissa Ouedraogo is regarded as one of the best-known African filmmakers internationally and a pioneer of West African cinema.

AiM After Hours – UK Premieres

Sat 31 Oct at 10.00pm

Various | South Africa 2009 | 1h35m | DigiBeta | English | 15

Continuing from the popularity of last year’s late-night screenings, we are excited to bring you another late-night Halloween package of spooky, scary and downright strange South African short films. Our thanks to Trevor Steele Taylor for his support in programme this package.

Die Hel (The Hell)

Mark Jackson | South Africa 2009 | 9m

On the road to the small town of Die Hel (The Hell) in South Africa’s hinterland, a driver knocks over a mystery man only to discover that there are disturbing messages on the man’s cell phone connecting the two of them. Placing the man in his boot, it is not long before his destiny comes to call.



Aurora Drummer | South Africa 2009 | 12m

An audacious student production which constantly surprises with its shock cuts, startling visuals and twisted logic in telling a story of mind control in a dodgy, futuristic mental asylum where all fictions are removed. A nurse becomes too closely involved with a patient undergoing therapy and becomes part of a fantasy escape into a world where her nurse’s uniform is in sharp contrast to the red dress of her patient. Director Aurora Drummer imaginatively references Korean horror films in her own visual design.



Paul André Blom | South Africa 2009 | 16m

imPERFECTION is a short modern day horror/thriller with shocking, seemingly inexplicable escalating events, fuelled by artistic experimentation whilst delivering social commentary with a satirical slant. Blood, sex and death are the most exploited themes of modern times, as taboos as well as primal urges. While these happen to be the essence and futility of existence, here its imperfection is explored around the recurring theme of the perfect circle, the open-ended outcome also a circular link to the beginning – each viewer’s outlook on life and mindset allowing them to see the ending (beyond the credits) as they would want it to be.


Safari Obscura

Anton Kotze | South Africa 2009 | 58m

South African filmmaker Anton Kotze, having built up a vast collection of African fetishes and immersing himself in the high-roads and by-roads of African myth, shot a truck-load of footage which is the visual basis of this film. Starting from the darkness of the womb, the film goes into a continent where animism is the key and where the Gods are killed and eaten as part of the process of renewal. Informed by Dziga Vertov’s The Man with the Movie Camera, Kotze shot everything and anything that entered his vision and in the editing process, after throwing images around in a cut-ups method inspired by William Burroughs, the internal logic made itself clear and each image is overlaid, overlaid and overlaid again into visuals where each frame is a mandala with shamanistic content.

From a Whisper

Sun 1 Nov at 4.45pm

Wanuri Kahiu | Kenya 2008 | 1h20m | DV-Cam | English | 15

From a Whisper commemorates the 10th anniversary of the terrorist bombing of the US Embassy in Nairobi in August 1998, in which over 250 people died and more than 5,000 were injured. Shot along the lines of thinking that fiction reveals truths that reality obscures, the film is not about the bombing itself, but the aftermath of the bombing and its devastating effect on the lives of the indirect victims of the blast who were forced to learn how to move beyond the tragedy that shattered their lives. The film shows the lives of the victims and perpetrators to be intertwined, while Tamani, an angry and rebellious Muslim teenage girl whose mother went missing during the bomb blast, struggles to come to terms with her own motherless identity.

From a Whisper is one of the most talked-about African films from the past year, and won an array of awards at the African Movie Academy Awards in Nigeria, including Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Picture and Best Original Soundtrack.

We are delighted to have director Wanuri Kahiu in attendance to speak to the audience after the screening of her film. Wanuri is also presenting a masterclass at the Edinburgh College of Art on Fri 30 Oct from 2.00pm to 5.00pm.


Killer Necklace – UK Premiere

Judy Kibinge | Kenya 2008 | 40m | DV-Cam | English | 15

Killer Necklace is a twisted tale of desire and deceit that revolves around Boo and his girlfriend Wai. Boo would do anything for Wai, so deep is his desire for her, but she has her eye on a different prize – the most beautiful golden necklace in the world. As Book rapidly realises that the way to this woman’s heart is through his wallet he finds himself forced to go further and further in an effort to be worthy. Boo’s good intentions are swiftly put through the wire, as he has to sink or swim through the murky and mucky waters of deception and the crime-ridden life of his town.

Inspired by a comic and developed for screen by Judy Kibinge, Killer Necklace features innovative cinematography and editing and a contemporary urban African setting where wealth, poverty, life and death are but a stone’s throw apart.

Closing Screening


Sun 1 Nov at 8.00pm

Ralph Ziman | South Africa 2008 | 2h | 35mm | English | 15

All Lucky Kunene ever wanted was a BMW and a sea view, but coming from a poor family in Soweto the odds were stacked against him. Carjacking or “affirmative repossession” as it is called, gave him a glimpse of a brighter world. When a heist goes wrong, Kunene and his childhood friend, Zakes, move to Hillbrow, the inner-city Johannesburg slum, where he builds up a powerful empire from dodgy property rental dealings. With a local drug lord and an embittered policeman on his tail, Kunene must use all his street-smart to survive.

Inspired by true events, Jerusalema takes a realistic and unwavering look into the gritty underbelly of crime, corruption and transgression in the new South Africa.

The closing screening will be preceded by screenings of the winner of the short film competition as well as the winner of the short film audience choice award.

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