Women Alive, Woman of Heart – the 14th International Images Film Festival for Women in Zimbabwe kicks off with the opening night on Friday, 14 August

The 14th edition of the International Images Film Festival for Women in Harare, Zimbabwe will open this Friday, 14 August with the French film Girlhood (2014) by Celine Sciamma, which also opened the Director’s Fortnight in Cannes 2014. The festival commences its diverse program involving work from five continents with this coming-of-age film about the struggle for personal freedom in the case of young Marieme who joins a girls’ gang. Between 14 – 22 August, the festival will consist of a main competition, along with a documentary section, short films and a focus on Africa, Worldview and New Man.

The main competition will feature, among others, three African films. Ethiopia-born director Zeresenay Mehari, will compete in the competition with Difret, his story of 14 year-old Hirut, who is kidnapped by a group of men on her way home from school who try to force her into marriage. The brave girl defends herself, shooting her would-be husband along the way. Based on a true story, the film follows a committed lawyer, set on saving Hirut’s life. The Ethiopian and American co-production (with Angelina Jolie as executive producer) won the Panorama Audience Award in 2014 at the Berlin International Film Festival and received the World Cinema – Audience Award at Sundance Film Festival the same year.
Another Ethiopian and international co-production is Beti and Amare (2014) by Andy Siege, who was born 1985 in Nairobi to German aid workers. Crossing a range of genres, this sci-fi historical drama is set in 1936 Ethiopia. Beti, a young girl, flees from Mussolini’s troops to an area further south, where she encounters a spaceship. This dreamlike (or, at times, nightmarish) film is Siege’s debut. With a small budget and entirely self-funded, the film has screened at several festivals worldwide, including its premiere at Moscow International Film Festival in 2014.
Hailed as the leader of new independent Egyptian cinema, director Ahmed Abdalla takes on mental illness as his subject in Décor (2014). In this story, production designer Maha is thrown into life as a housewife while work on the film set of a new production becomes overwhelming. Shifting between the real and the imaginary, Abdalla creates a homage to classic Egyptian Cinema in this black and white psychological drama which premiered at the 2014 London BFI Film Festival.

The international selection of films in competition include The Mud Woman by Sergio Castro San Martin (2015, Chile), Get Married If You Can by Marco Polo Constandse (2014, Mexico), Beatriz’s War by Luigi Acquisto and Bety Reis (2013, East Timor/Australia), Margarita, With a  Straw by Shonali Bose and Nilesh Maniyar (2014, India), Flocking by Beata Gårdeler (2015, Sweden), 3 Beauties by Carlos Caridad-Montero (2014, Venezuela), I Hate Tokyo by Toshiyuki Morioka (2013, Japan), Petal Dance by Hiroshi Ishikawa (2013, Japan), as well as the opening film, Girlhood.

The International Images Film Festival for Women is organized by the Women Filmmakers of Zimbabwe (WFOZ) initiative, founded in 1996. It aims to increase female participation in the audio-visual sector, and to raise awareness for women’s issues among cinema and television audiences. It is supported by ACPCULTURES+.
This year, in addition to the international selection of film screenings, the festival is offering a documentary-making workshop led by award-winning Ghanaian-British filmmaker Yaba Badoe, who will also present her latest film, The Art of Ama Ata Aidoo (2014), in the programme. Eight young filmmakers will have the chance to benefit from her 30 years of work experience in radio and TV.
Other special events include a 3-D Stereoscopy Design Station with guest filmmaker Gülsel Özkan, presenting her 3-D short film, Bad Timing, and a presentation byfilm director and professor Ludger Pfanz, with whom Özkan founded the production company Planet Film. While Özkan will also be part of the World View and New Man Jury, Pfanz will join the jury for the documentary competition.

The complete programme for the festival taking place from 14-22 August in Harare, Zimbabwe can be found here.

August 13, 2015
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