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Film festival: Film Africa 2016

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Film Africa, Royal African Society Film Festival, London 2016FILM AFRICA 2016 takes place from 28 October to 6 November.

At diverse London venues.

And uniquely female perspectives on cross-gender experiences figure strongly in this year’s Film Africa programme, including stories of revolution, migration, family and the universal search for belonging.

The Revolution Won’t Be Televised, directed by Rama Thiaw.

Old men who brutally cling to political power have become a recognised feature of African politics.

In 2011, when Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade prepared to fight for office yet again, the people grew tired and a youth resistance movement formed on the streets, spawning the now infamous ‘Y’en a marre’ (‘We Are Fed Up’).

Founded by popular rappers Thiat and Kilifeu, director Rama Thiaw joined the movement to document its progress and the sheer hard work that eventually led to Wade’s demise. A rousing testament to the power of music to inform and unify.

Rama Thiaw was born in 1978 in Nouakchott, Mauritania, and is half Senegalese. A writer, director and producer, she gained a Masters degree in International Economics at the Sorbonne University, before studying cinema at the University of Paris. ‘The Revolution Won’t Be Televised is her first feature length film.

To see the trailer, click here.

Rama Thiaw will attend this, as will Thiat and Kilifeu from Y’en A Marre.

Dreamstates, directed by Anisia Uzeyman, has its European premiere at this festival.

Equal parts love story, road movie and Americana, Dreamstates tells the haunting tale of two wayward souls (played by musician/poet Saul Williams and Anisia Uzeyman) discovering their love for one another while touring the U.S. with some of the most pivotal figures of the Afro-Punk movement.

Shot entirely on an iPhone, filmmaker Uzeyman’s daring debut feature is a sultry, sensual and quixotic underground journey between dreams and reality.

Anisia Uzeyman is a Rwandan born actress, playwright and director. She studied at the Superior School of Theater in France and has written and directed four plays and recently starred in the award winning film Tey by Alain Gomis and Guetty Felin’s Ayiti mon amour.

Dreamstates is her first feature film. To see the trailer, click here.

Anisia Uzeyman will attend this event.

Shashamane, directed by Giulia Amati, has its UK premiere.

Followed by a discussion on the relationship between Africa and its diaspora, exploring issues like identity, politics and reparations.

In 1948, Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie donated 500 acres of his own private lands “for the black people of the world” to encourage displaced Africans to repatriate.

Since the 1960s, many have travelled to Ethiopia to establish the oldest Rastafarian settlement in the world – Shashamane – but now their spiritual home is under threat.

Much of the land is lost and many Ethiopians view them as outsiders, leaving these descendants of slaves taken from Africa by force in limbo.

A compelling look at the lesser explored migration of the African diaspora back to the continent in search of a lost identity.

Italian-French filmmaker, Giulia Amati, has worked as an editor for documentaries and advertising campaigns for more a decade.

In 2010 she co-directed the documentary ‘This Is My Land… Hebron’, which won more than twenty international awards. Shashamane is her second feature.

To see the trailer, click here.

Guilia Amati will attend this event.

Asmarina, directed by Alan Maglio with Medhin Paolos also makes its UK premiere at this festival.

Both screenings will be followed by a Q&A with director Medhin Paolos, and the screening at Bernie Grant Arts Centre is a dine and view event: Eritrean food is included in the ticket price.

The Eritrean/Ethiopian communities have been present in Italy for at least half a century and have been actively integrated into social and cultural life.

Collecting memories from the Habesha community in Milan, ‘Asmarina’ is a collective tale which brings to light a postcolonial heritage that has been little scrutinised until now: the everyday stories of those born in Italy, those who have lived there for years, and the refugees who have just arrived.

Medhin Paolos is a photographer, director, musician and citizenship rights activist. Asmarina is her directorial debut. Click here to watch the trailer.

The Wedding Ring, directed by Rahmatou Keïta.

Recently returned to her home in the Sultanate of Zinder after completing her degree abroad, Tiyaa, a young woman suffering from the pain of lost love, finds renewal while awaiting the mystical promise of a new moon.

Rahmatou Keïta’s second feature slowly reveals itself as a story of female empowerment that also doesn’t shirk from the uncomfortable realities of Western influence on African cultures.

A magical and immersive journey into the little-explored, and fast-fading, customs of Niger’s Sahelian people.

Born in Niger, award-winning filmmaker Rahmatou Keïta is a daughter of the Sahel, a descendant of its oldest dynasty, of Sundjata Keïta.

After studying philosophy and linguistics in Paris, her first feature doc AL’LÈÈSSI, about the pioneers of African cinema, was selected by the Cannes Film Festival and won Best Documentary Award at Montreal, FIFAI and the Sojourner Truth Award at Cannes.

The Wedding Ring is her first fiction film. To watch the trailer, click here.

The Royal African Society is a membership organisation that fosters a better understanding of Africa in the UK and throughout the world.

Film Africa is the Royal African Society’s annual festival celebrating the best contemporary cinema from Africa and its Diaspora is now in its sixth year.

For more details about the festival, dates, tickets, venues, click here.

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