If it were up to me, I’d have had Half of a Yellow Sun as the opening film at the 17th edition of the Zanzibar International Film Festival instead of Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom. East Africa’s premier cinema showpiece opened on Saturday June 14th on the idyllic Indian Ocean Island at its principal historic venue, the imposing Old Fort. The hype around the screen adaptation of Chimamanda Adichie’s novel, especially its apparent banning in Nigeria and its resonance with the fact that many African countries are still grappling with early post-colonial unfinished business, would have made me choose it over the Mandela biopic. Well, there’s also the sentimentality about director Biyi Bandele was one of my screenwriter mentors at the Maisha Film Lab class of 2009, the garden where the seeds of my interest in film were planted. Festival goers have to wait until Wednesday June 18th for Half of a Yellow Sun’s screening at the open air amphitheater screening venue.
It’s festival submission season and Ugandan moviemakers can now get their cinematic works assessed by way of showcases at three African festivals of note. The Zanzibar International Film Festival (ZIFF) submission call ends January 31st 2014. ZIFF is the region’s premier cinema showcase and takes place on the enchanting Indian Ocean island of Zanzibar. Priority at ZIFF 2014 will be given to films reflecting the theme of global cultural interaction, cultural encounters or socio-cultural commentary although filmmakers are encouraged to submit works in any genre. Works-in-progress will be accepted but they must be semi-completed no later than April 1st, 2014. Submission forms are available at www.ziff.or.tz.
For the 2014 Durban International Film Festival, submissions will be made through an online database called Evential. Filmmakers will be required to log onto http://vp.evential.eu/cca, create an Evential account, submit an entry form and send your DVDs before the March 28, 2014 deadline. Only films completed in 2013 and 2014 will be considered. More information is available at www.durbanfilmfest.co.za. The Rwanda Film Festival will hold its 10th edition aptly titled “10 Years of Hillywood” and submissions are on until March 29, 2014. The festival, whose character draws from the notion that Rwanda is the land of 1000 hills, is open to all genres, length and languages. The 2014 edition will focus on “Reflection” and is looking at putting together a selection of films that will look at historical and contemporary issues from around the world. These will include intercultural interaction, social and political changes, climate change and young people on the move. The festival aims to take its audience on a trip around the world. The selection of films within the festival’s program will reflect on their filmic aesthetic and context as well as from the angle of social relevance that well vets around the word “Reflection”. Additional info is available at www.rwandafilmfestival.net.
Text: MOSES SERUGO