Power of im­ages

ChinAfrica - - Cover Story -

One of the ear­li­est cel­lu­loid sto­ries to leave a last­ing im­pres­sion on his mind was a si­lent documentary by pi­o­neer­ing Soviet film­maker Dziga Ver­tov. “The fact that a 1929 film could touch a young man decades later tells you about the power of movies,” Qubeka said. “It made me de­cide that I would be­come a film­maker one day.”

Now with three fea­ture films un­der his belt, that day has ar­rived. Also, af­ter the first non-racial demo­cratic elec­tions in 1994, South Africa has un­der­gone a sea of change. “We have po­lit­i­cal prob­lems and ad­min­is­tra­tive chal­lenges, but South Africa is a free coun­try,” Qubeka said. “We can go wher­ever we want. It’s our birthright!”

There were many more things to cel­e­brate when the South African del­e­ga­tion of film di­rec­tors, ac­tors, of­fi­cials and other per­son­nel from the en­ter­tain­ment in­dus­try ar­rived in Chengdu, a city with thou­sands of years of his­tory but state-of-the-art in­fra­struc­ture in Sichuan Prov­ince, south­west China, to at­tend the Se­cond BRICS Film Fes­ti­val in June.

“We are the youngest na­tion in BRICS and so our world view is very small,” Qubeka, who was part of the del­e­ga­tion, said. “We have no idea of our place in the world. BRICS gives us a place at the ta­ble.”

Though BRICS be­came a five-mem­ber bloc with South Africa join­ing the quar­tet of Brazil, Rus­sia, In­dia and China in 2010, and though there has been a se­ries of an­nual sum­mits of BRICS lead­ers to plan greater devel­op­ment for the group, it was felt that more could be done to im­prove cul­tural co­op­er­a­tion and peo­pleto-peo­ple ex­changes.

So at the Sev­enth BRICS Sum­mit in Ufa, Rus­sia in 2015, In­dian Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi sug­gested that the mem­ber coun­tries or­ga­nize pop­u­lar events like an an­nual foot­ball tour­na­ment for young peo­ple un­der 15 and a BRICS Film Fes­ti­val to share co­op­er­a­tion, cul­tures and sto­ries. Sub­se­quently, the First BRICS Film Fes­ti­val was held in New Delhi, In­dia, last year, fol­lowed by the Chengdu film fes­ti­val, which was a run-up to the Ninth BRICS Sum­mit that will be held in Septem­ber in Xi­a­men in south­east China’s Fu­jian Prov­ince.

“This fo­rum is most valu­able be­cause it has an eco­nomic as­pect, a pol­icy as­pect and peo­ple-to-peo­ple con­nec­tions,” said Mar­cos Cara­muru de Paiva, Brazil­ian Am­bas­sador to China, who led the Brazil­ian del­e­ga­tion to the Chengdu film fes­ti­val. “It cre­ates the de­sign of fu­ture co­op­er­a­tion.”

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