Preview: Africa in Motion 2019

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Credit: Africa in Motion

Rosie Beattie
Writer

An exclusive sneak preview into the offerings of the latest 2019 Africa in Motion (AiM) Film Festival.

Now in its 14th year, Africa in Motion aims to celebrate the various and vibrant cultures emerging from Africa by exhibiting content that is otherwise rarely seen in Scotland. The programme is impressively packed with events comprised of features, shorts, documentaries, music, video games, and VR. From a rare screening of the 1920 film Within Our Gates which responds to D.W Griffith’s notorious The Birth of a Nation, to the annual Short Film Competition which is showcasing the work of emerging African film directors (screening in our very own Andrew Stewart cinema on campus!), there is sure to be something on your doorstep during the festival which is taking place this year between 25 October and 3 November. Here is a preview of some of the festival’s most highly anticipated screenings.

Talking About Trees

This intimate documentary directed by Suhaib Gasmelbari is an appropriate selection for this year’s opening gala film in Edinburgh. Talking About Trees documents members of the Sudanese Film Group as they strive to give life to their local cinema, The Revolution Theatre, which has been closed for years after the government shut down their National Film Institution. With Sudanese film directors having some critical success in the 70s and 80s, the former directors who make up the film group dedicate their energy to reviving the Sudanese film industry. The film successfully highlights the complicated relationship between cinema and politics while also adopting a heart-warming tone in light of the passion for cinema that the film group share with their community.

Talking About Trees is screening in Glasgow on Saturday 26 October at 3pm at the Glasgow Film Theatre.

Tchindas

Filmed in the beautiful location of a Cape Verdean Island this film captures the vibrancy of a small town hidden away off the coast of Northwest Africa. Tchindas is the well respected and beloved glue to this community, adding a literal sparkle to an otherwise quiet town. The filmmakers Marc Serena and Pablo García Pérez de Lara eloquently capture the community as they work, drink, and play cards all while Tchindas prepares a dazzling carnival. The magic of this documentary comes from being inside the walls of a tight-knit community where queerness is embraced openly on the streets in the form of a lavish carnival, which is a treat for the spectator to behold in the closing segment of the film.

Tchindas is screening in Glasgow on Tuesday 29 October at 6.30pm at The Glad Café on Pollokshaws Rd.

Sofia

Sofia tells the urgent story of a young woman in Casablanca who learns she is pregnant only when she goes into labour. Thereafter, she must deal with the result of having sex outside of marriage which is illegal and punishable by imprisonment in Morocco. The film skilfully intersects issues of class and gender under oppressive government legislation. In this narrative marriage is far from the romantic fairy-tale ending that we have been conditioned in the past to expect. Instead, it is a social necessity detached from romance and often a means of ascending class ranks.

The film is a passionate outlet for a much wider movement currently gaining momentum in Morocco where thousands of women were recently reported to have signed a statement declaring that they had broken both unmarried sex and abortion laws in solidarity with Hajar Raissouni, a reporter who was jailed after being charged with both acts but has since been pardoned by the country’s King.

Sofia is screening in Glasgow on Wednesday 30 October at 6pm at the Glasgow Film Theatre.

Wax Print: 1 Fabric, 4 Continents, 200 Years of History

Filmmaker Aiwan Obinyan sets out to answer the question “Is Wax Print African?” after learning the colonial history of the fabric from her Nigerian grandmother. This documentary gives viewers the privilege of viewing the beautifully bold wax prints as well as being shown some of the processes of printing the fabric. Obinyan succeeds in intelligently exploring the complicated relationship wax prints have with colonial exploitation by linking it to the relationship she has with her own African-British identity.

This screening will be preceded by short films on African fashion and include a discussion led by GU History of Art lecturer Sally Tuckett with Sarah Worden (National Museums Scotland), textile designer Kezia Lewis, artist Gameli Trodzro, and the filmmaker of Wax Print, Aiwan Obinyan, turning this screening into an event that should not be missed in this year’s programme.

Wax Print: 1 Fabric, 4 Continents, 200 Years of History takes place at the Gallery of Modern Art on Saturday 2 November 6pm-9pm.