Fes­ti­val brings cin­ema closer to ru­ral chil­dren

Ini­tia­tive plants a seed to nur­ture fu­ture cre­atives

Sowetan - - Time Out - By Ju­lia Madi­bogo

For some chil­dren in ru­ral ar­eas, vis­it­ing a cin­ema is just a dream. In a move to change this, We Are Africa Film Fes­ti­vals is bring­ing cin­ema to the vil­lages.

The film fes­ti­val, which also targets town­ship chil­dren who don’t have money to en­joy the lux­u­ries of a cin­ema, will kick­start in Soshanguve, Tsh­wane on Tues­day, with a show­case of African films for free.

Fes­ti­val cu­ra­tor Le­sego Mphake says they have been able to sus­tain them­selves for the past four years through the help from the Depart­ment of Arts and Cul­ture.

“Last year we went to Venda where chil­dren there have to travel about 200km to see a movie. Our aim is to pro­mote African cin­ema and ca­reer guid­ance,” Mphake says.

“We are forg­ing in­tra re­la­tion­ships be­tween coun­try and coun­try. We show­case how other peo­ple live in their coun­tries through their movies,” he says.

The fes­ti­vals will run for two weeks. The ru­ral ar­eas which have been iden­ti­fied are in East­ern Cape, Western Cape and Free State.

Mphake says only African movies will be show­cased in line with Africa Month.

“We in­vited four in­ter­na­tional film­mak­ers from dif­fer­ent coun­tries in Africa. This year we are ex­pect­ing film­mak­ers from Mozambique and Cameroon.

“Af­ter ev­ery screen­ing we have a ques­tion-and-an­swer ses­sion that is taken on the floor by ei­ther the cast or the pro­ducer,” he adds.

In­ter­na­tion­ally ac­claimed lo­cal movie Kalushi (star­ring ac­tress Pearl Thusi and Thabo Rametsi), doc­u­men­tary film Cuba: The African Odyssey (di­rected by Ji­han el Tahri), and She is King (which fea­tures Khabon­ina Qubeka and Khanyi Mbau) will be screened at the fes­ti­val.

The fest ival, which will take place at lo­cal halls of iden­ti­fied

‘ ‘ I have been so in­spired by the im­pact we leave on kids

places closer to schools, will use big-screen pro­jec­tors to show­case the movies.

This is also an op­por­tu­nity to spark some in­ter­est in film­mak­ing in the young learn­ers.

“We have part­nered with the Na­tional Film and Video Foun­da­tion (NFVF) be­cause this pro­gramme is owned by the Depart­ment of Arts and Cul­ture. Through the NFVF we have ca­reers in film­mak­ing where NFVF presents ca­reers in that space.”

Mphake has in the past been to Kim­ber­ley, Gariep, Mankweng, Mahikeng and Venda with the fes­ti­val where chil­dren were bussed in.

“It has been a ful­fill­ing jour­ney and I have been so in­spired by the im­pact we leave on the young minds once they see the end­less op­por­tu­ni­ties that cin­ema brings.

“In many ways, that en­counter broad­ened their minds. Some day we will see how far Africa Film Fes­ti­val went in nur­tur­ing fu­ture cre­atives.”

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A scene from the film Kalushi about the life of Strug­gle hero Solomon Mahlangu, who was hanged in 1979.

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Khanyi Mbau and Khabon­ina Qubeka in the film She is king.

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