BERLINALE 2017: AFRICA AND ITS DIASPORA IN COMPETITION

In a press release dated 15th December, the German festival announced the first fourteen films selected for the Berlin International Film Festival 2017 (67th Internationale Filmfestspiele Berlin), which will take place from the 9th to the 19th February. Félicité, from Franco-Senegalese director Alain Gomis, will made its World Premiere in Berlin, like his preceding and magnificent Tey/Aujourd’hui (Today) (winner of the 2013 Fespaco Golden Stallion). Supported by the film production funding program for Francophone countries, Fonds Image de la Francophonie (OIF/CIRTEF), the film follows the struggles of Félicité, a free and proud woman, singer by evening in a bar in Kinshasa, the Congolese capital. Her life is turned upside-down when her 14-year-old son is badly injured in a motorcycle accident. In order to save him, she embarks on a desperate quest through the electric city, its past, its dreams. She crosses paths with Tabu… With Tshanda Beya, Gaetan Claudia and Papi Mpaka in the leading roles, Alain Gomis’ forth feature film (L’Afrance, Andalucia, Tey) was co-produced in five countries: Senegal, France, Belgium, Germany and Lebanon (Gabon was brought up at one point). The release date in France is scheduled for the 29th March 2017 (distribution: Jour de Fête). Follow the film’s news at https://www.facebook.com/Felicitelefilm/

As part of the official program, the Berlinale Special section features works by contemporary filmmakers, documentaries and extraordinary formats. One of the productions to be selected was Le Jeune Karl Marx / The Young Karl Marx (France/Germany/Belgium), from Raoul Peck (Sometimes In April, Moloch Tropical, Fatal Assistance), with August Diehl, Stefan Konarske, Vicky Krieps, Hannah Steele and Olivier Gourmet. Berlin will be the World Premiere of the film, which focuses on the early years of the brilliant German philosopher who lived in Paris. The Haitian filmmaker lived in Germany, where he studied cinema, before settling in France where he has been President of the largest film school, the Fémis, since 2010. On 24th January, Raoul Peck’s documentary Je ne suis pas votre Nègre (I Am Not Your Negro)  was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature alongside director Ava DuVernay’s film 13th, referring to the 13th amendment of the American constitution, which analyzes the impact of racial discrimination on the American judicial system. Follow the film’s news at:  www.facebook.com/Le-Jeune-Karl-Marx-de-Raoul-Peck-1668725006705147/ 

"Courage: Against All Odds"

Under the theme of "Courage: Against All Odds", the 15th edition of the Berlinale Talents program will bring together around 350 film industry professionals and talents for six days, from 11 to 16 February. 2,711 entries from 127 different countries had to be sorted through before the selection could be made. Several African films will be in Berlin last year, including Hedi, un vent de liberté from Mohamed Ben Attia (Best First Feature award and Golden Bear for Best Actor for Majd Mastoura), and The Revolution Won’t Be Televised from Senegalese director Rama Thiaw (film supported by OIF/CIRTEF), which won the prestigious Fipresci International Critics’ Award. Here, Jean-Pierre Bekolo had the European premiere of Naked Reality, his second foray into science fiction cinema.

German Soft Power and creation of the Berlinale Africa Hub

While France is reducing its coverage (credits are drastically reduced on all programs, support for Francophone countries cannot escape it), the German Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs is launching the offensive. According to our sources, a multi-million Euro program has been implemented and specifically concerns African cinemas. Festivals, collaborations, films and production/distribution support programs are beginning to benefit from generous funding that reinforces the work of Goethe, who has many institutes on the continent. In 2017, with the support of the German Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Berlinale launches the “Berlinale Africa Hub”, a platform for innovative ideas and projects from the African film industry. A hub (concentrator) is supposed to unite a set of elements in one place. It’s an initiative of the European Film Market (EFM), in co-operation with the World Cinema Fund (and the special program created in 2016, WCF Africa, which promotes films from sub-Saharan Africa with the support of the German Federal Foreign Office), with Berlinale Talents (and its twin program Talents Durban, which supports talented African filmmakers throughout the year), and the Berlinale Co-Production Market. However, the initiative is not without criticism, because of the lack of prior consultation to really involve Africans in order to abandon the logic of aid and to establish a true logic of co-operation (to act together). Especially since many countries have structured institutions and increasing numbers are emerging from the programs financed by the African States themselves (following the example of Senegal with the Film and Audiovisual Promotion Fund, FOPICA, in Morocco, South Africa and even Chad). For the time being, the partners announced by the "Berlinale Africa Hub" are Electric South (Cape Town, South Africa), the online platform Mokolo (of which Africiné Magazine is co-founder, as well as Africultures to some extent; the Mokolo Foundation is based in Lagos, Nigeria), Rushlake Media (Cologne, Germany) and the Goethe-Institut. 

Source : Images Francophones

February 1, 2017
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