September 18, 2021

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The Africa Rising Festival centers on a community of local filmmakers

4 min read

Even at the best of times, a young film festival can expect increasing pain as it precedes the third edition. But the organizers of Africa’s Rising Intel. 2 Festival-Online until November 29 and the film festival in Johannesburg, South Africa was centered around the extra and memorable work of throwing the world into an epidemic.

Ainda Sithehe, co-founder and artistic director of ARIFF, said the festival was “very lucky” to raise its screen as South African life slowly returned to normal. After a tough, six-month lockdown, the country has begun reviving its economy and relaxing travel and public restrictions. International flights began to return in early October, when movies resumed circulation, albeit to a limited capacity.

For a festival that is proudly established as a community-based event, however, the coronavirus epidemic not only presented a logical challenge, but there is an opportunity to double the optimistic role that both South African industry and ERIFF can play. Society is larger

“This year’s theme was‘ Film for Film Change ’and how narratives can start a conversation that can move us forward as a community,” Sitahe said. Different. “We thought as a film festival, we just can’t ignore what’s going on around us. As a world community, we have come a long way. And we thought …[about] What can film and storytelling do for our society? “

The festival began with a portrait of Kenyan director Sam Soko’s political activist Boniface “Softy” Mawangi, who realized that the only way to fight corruption in his country was through his decision to run for office. Sitahe said the acclaimed documentary premiered at the World Sundance World Documentary Cinema Competition and was acquired by PBS’s Doc Arm Peov earlier this year, a perfect way to open an ERIFF that allows listeners to “reflect what our continent is doing.”

With the completion of the time-curved horror film “Antebellum” starring American South’s slavery revisited Janelle Mooney, Sithe said the festival was expected to reach its international reach. “As much as we are exporting African goods, we are also very open to the world community, as a festival,” he says. “There can be beautiful cultural exchanges and there can be a lot to learn from each other.”

Sithehe is the creator of South African art digital portal Actor Spaces and has spent most of his career training disadvantaged people, an experience he carried as one of the founding pillars of the Africa Rising Festival.

“For us, we’ve seen a big gap with film festivals, in the sense that if you go to a film festival for the first time, you know how scary this place is as an emerging filmmaker.” A small portion of the ARIFF was founded “a film festival that speaks to accessibility, that speaks to development” and that it can “bring in emerging filmmakers and keep them at home with more experienced filmmakers.”

President Lala Tuku, vice-president of the festival and an executive producer and industry consultant, agreed. “We felt it was appropriate to launch a platform that would shed light and give us perspective and give a voice to the previously disadvantaged and marginalized groups in our society,” he said. Different. “For us, we wanted to create something that everyone could feel part of.”

The festival’s third co-founder, Koeku Mandela, is a veteran film producer, as well as the grandson of Nelson Mandela. After working together, the trio used their years of combined experience as a way to build a platform that they say faces some imperfections in South Africa’s film industry, in a country where about 80% of blacks are still white- and male-dominated.

In addition to showing body art in the Johannesburg suburbs, ARIF organized a number of online master classes and panel discussions on developing the skills needed for aspiring filmmakers, addressing some of the structural issues facing South African art, especially women and blacks. Manufacturers. “From a conversion standpoint, it’s still far behind,” Tuku says.

The festival also instructed 16 young filmmakers to make short films based on gender-based violence, which grew alarmingly during the Coronavirus epidemic and other social ills, like the rest of the world in South Africa. The films will be screened in South Africa in May 2021.

Sithehe said the initiative offered ARIFF a practical way to encourage industrial transformation. “If we say we’re talking about ‘film change’, can we start helping young filmmakers create more meaningful content?”

The organizing team is already awaiting the 2021 edition of ATIFF, which will run from November 25-28, as it aims at the success of previous years. “We are still very young, ready to become a leading African film festival,” Sitahe said, “so that we can bring the world here and export African content as well.”

Pictured (left to right): Ayanda Sitehe, Keoku Mandela, Lala Tuku

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