The Inaugural Africa Film Festival celebrates the richness of African cinema

The Inaugural Africa Film Festival celebrates the richness of African cinema
Image: Still from 'After The Long Rains'. Image supplied.

Over three days Sydneysiders have the opportunity to attend the inaugural Africa Film Festival which has a program of seven contemporary films, three of which are Australian premieres selected by a team of African Australian curators.

This film festival showcases films from all over Africa and also from African filmmakers who live abroad.

“The African Film industry is growing with many films premiering at the big film festivals including Cannes and Sundance. The future is definitely bright for our film industry,” enthused Co-Festival Director, Esther Mumbi Hinga.

Africans love going to the movies and when they settled in Australia, they wanted to see themselves represented cinematically, which is one of the reasons this film festival has evolved.

The sporting documentary Rise: Siya Kolisi Story opens the festival and should be of special interest to rugby union enthusiasts. It follows Siya Kolisi, the first Black Captain of the South African national rugby union team and how he achieved international stardom.

“If you know anything about South African history there was a lot of segregation between the white and black communities. This film is very powerful in bringing people together.”

Africa Film Festival - Banel and Adama
Still from ‘Banel and Adama’. Image supplied.

After The Long Rains is a documentary about overcoming gender norms in African communities which Hinga highly recommends. Its centres on a young girl living in a small village in Kenya who desperately wants to achieve her dream of travelling to Europe and becoming an actress.

“I can relate to this documentary because growing up in Kenya I loved the arts, but it was considered a hobby rather than a career path.”

Lovers of animated works should be delighted with the exclusive screening of the short film program which features international guest Searit Hulu, an acclaimed Ethiopian American animator from Pixar’s SparkShorts program. The screening will be followed by an insightful Q&A with local and international professionals in the field.

“The whole idea behind this film festival is to bring people together and to build cultural bridges. The language of film is quite universal and if we can enjoy each other’s stories and films, I think it’s a great way to get to know each other,” concluded Hinga.

ESTHER’S HOT AFRICA FILM FEST PICKS

COLETTE AND JUSTIN – An interesting documentary about a man living in Paris who tries to recall the memories of his parents, Colette and Justin, about how the effects of Belgium’s colonization in Congo have transcended over many generations.

GIRL – A true story filmed in Scotland about the relationship between an 11-year-old girl and her mother, who has suffered trauma from her past in Africa. A story of migration, isolation, new beginnings and culture shock.

BANEL AND ADAMA – A tale of young love and cultural conflict set in a Senegalese village. An award winner at the Melbourne Film Festival in 2023 and also received much accolade when screened at Cannes.

Africa Film Fest, Jul 19 – 21
Riverside Theatre, Corner Church & Market Sts, Parramatta
www.africafilmfest.au

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