Over three thousand works from the best film schools all over the world have been submitted for consideration in the tenth edition of the Short Film festival 2020. Among these, an increasing number of short movies come from the African continent: a multifaceted geographical and cultural reality, in which cinema has a history and plays a social role which is as important as internationally under-represented. However, this year the Short Film festival has decided to celebrate the potential and the liveliness of these young filmmakers from the African continent.
Three short films have been shortlisted to represent the main tendencies of this “New African Cinema”, which describe the cultural features characterizing the country, the common spiritual background and the empathy for an universal sensitivity. Some stories look at everyday life and feelings, love and affection, others criticize some ritual and cultural practices or focus on social issues such as immigration. Sweetness and cruelty face each other like two opposites of a continuum that leaves more and more space for innovations, ideas and experiments.
The three short films selected to represent this reality, although not included in the official selection of the festival, do not lack technical quality, professionalism and narrative depth. All works highlight in different ways the relevant nuances of the New African Cinema. This journey starts with Simi (Nigeria), a film focused on interiority, love and affection told through the story of an indissoluble relationship between father and daughter; we then move on to Naisula (Kenya), which denounces the practice of infibulation, still widespread in some African realities; and finally we reach Gulf (South Africa), the powerful metaphor of the journey of a young immigrant narrated through the form of video art. Three different stories united by a strong empathy towards female figures, explored differently on a triple social, cultural and human level.
Technically bold, emotionally sincere: this is Africa when it comes to cinema.
NAISULA – MISFIT
8’34”, Kenya, Swahili, fiction
The film shows the life of a girl, Naisula, in search of freedom from local customs and traditions.
Karanja Ng’endo subscribes to a “make them laugh, make them cry” approach to film making. He wants the audience to have an emotional reaction to the stories he tells. His debut short film Misfit has been selected for over a dozen festivals winning numerous accolades, most notably the Sliver Dhow Award at Zanzibar International Film Festival.
Johnson E. Awolola
7’15”, Nigeria, English, fiction
The sincere and authentic story of a young girl whose memories take her back to the happiest moments of her life, remembering her father.
Johnson E. Awolola was born in 1986 in Kaduna state. He is currently studying Film Production at the National Film Institute Jos, Nigeria. His movie The Black Book based on a short story by Taiwo Oluwatosin, received Best Short Film award at the NFI annual production workshop competition in 2019. This short film was also screened at the Mac Arthur and Daily Trust Foundation’s Investigative/Digital storytelling Event in 2019.
10’, United Republic of Tanzania, experimental
Facing a difficult social and political situation, a woman leaves her badly governed homeland and heads north in the hope offinding a better life. However, she will later discover that she has to lose part of herself to be fully accepted into a community.
Director and screenwriter Walter Mzengi was born in Tanzania and now attends the film school in South Africa (AFDA), to achieve his dream of becoming a filmmaker. His interest in filmmaking began when he was 15, when he picked up a video camera and started filming and editing videos. Walter’s stories are focused on the human condition, and highlighting society’s flaws and strengths through minimalistic lens. He builds worlds where characters are at the forefront, where the setting changes in correlation with their state of emotion.