African Metropolis | 6 Cities, 6 Tales

African metropolis

African Metropolis is a series of short fiction films that tell urban tales about life in major African metropolises, a unique partnership towards new African cinema. The films were made in six African cities – Abidjan, Cairo, Dakar, Johannesburg, Lagos and Nairobi. Kenya’s entry is Homecoming by Jim Chuchu. His film conveys a voyeur’s obsession with the girl next door, blurring the lines between fantasy and reality, science fiction and fiction.

The films were developed over a period of one year with workshops held in Durban and Berlin. This film project is an initiative of Goethe-Institut South Africa and South African executive producer Steven Markovitz, with support from Guaranty Trust Bank plc and the Hubert Bals Fund of the International Film Festival Rotterdam.

In July 2013, African Metropolis premiered at the Durban International Film Festival (DIFF), one of the most important film industry events on the continent.  Two years of intensive preparation lead up to the premieres: Based on 40 scripts submitted, the film makers were chosen from the six cities. A mentoring programme and workshops ensued, which started off at the Durban Talent Campus in July 2012. Rasha Salti, Head of international programming at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF),

If the African Metropolis Short Film Project is to be continued (…) an intriguing testimony of contemporary film making may emerge – a testimony of a continent that has served as a projection screen for rigid and superficial clichés for too long.

All six of the African Metropolis films get their European premiere at the 43rd edition of the International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR 2014) and their US premiere at the 29th Santa Barbara Film Festival. Homecoming will screen at the CinemAfrica Film Festival in Sweden (19 – 23 March). Read about all the entries in the project below.



Homecoming, Directed by Jim Chuchu, Nairobi, 2013 © Homecoming


Directed by Jim Chuchu
Language: English / Kiswahili
Subtitles: English

Fantasy, science fiction and infatuation fuse as an obsessed neighbour invents ever-stranger scenarios for wooing the girl of his dreams.

Nothing is what it seems as Max – a nerdy voyeur – turns fiction into truth and the mundane into the unexpected in his quest to get the attention of Alina – the girl next door. The city of Nairobi is threatened with imminent extinction, and now is his chance to save her and verbalise his unspoken desire. However, a mysterious stranger stands in the way of his happiness. Will Max overcome his fear and save the girl? Is Alina looking for a hero? A quirky, light-hearted look at obsession and the desire to be seen.

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Ten Cities, is a global and culturally revelatory project that is documenting the social practice of going clubbing. It is the brainchild of Goethe-Institut Kenya in partnership with Adaptr and C/O Berlin. The project spans two continents, 10 countries and three disciplines (music, photography and writing).

The cities involved are Berlin, Bristol, Johannesburg, Cairo, Kiev, Lagos, Lisbon, Luanda, Nairobi and Naples. The criteria set down by the project: cities with highly developed club cultures with outstanding musicians, cities with specific local forms of music and characteristics in terms of urban development, or home to well established subcultures and subaltern public spheres and voices. About 50 DJs, producers and musicians are teamed up therefore enabling them to produce music together and exchange their knowledge about the club scenes in their countries.

The European guys are not teaching anything to the African colleagues. That would be ridiculous. The bridges are built by producing music together. The symmetrical and equal exchange is crucial here. — Johannes Hossfeld, Director of Goethe Institut Kenya

As a culture, clubbing is one of the most dynamic cultural forms worldwide with regards to space and the public sphere. It is also a space for experimenting with identities and lifestyles. Musicians today keep in touch with global pop culture viathe Internet which in turn, inspires local creativity and finds its way back into the Western world. However this Eurocentric attitude, often leads to a lack in both the appreciation of the African cultures within which all western styles of club music have their roots, and in the physical exchange between musicians and activists between the two continents. The Ten Cities project answers these concerns through a combination of music production, photography, and interdisciplinary research.


TEN CITIES Luanda – DJeff, DJSatelite, LucioAquilina, MarcoMessina


TEN CITIES Luanda – Concert Luanda


TEN CITIES Luanda – MC Sacerdote

A research project comprising of 23 researchers will use the perspective of club cultures to explore and investigate the term of the public sphere. They will work on essays and studies about those partly unknown music scenes and their sub cultures; ten photographers will capture the same on an artistic level.

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