CinemAfrica Sweden 2014 | 19 – 23 March


19th – 23rd March 2014

CinemAfrica arranges the largest African film festival in Sweden. The festival is a unique opportunity for children, youth and adults to watch and discuss films from emerging African film industries. They show feature films, documentaries, short films and animations made by filmmakers of African descent and works to highlight the Africans own pictures and stories.

Kenyan artists/filmmakers Wangechi Mutu and Jim Chuchu both have work that is screening. Mutu’s first animated film The End of eating Everything will be screening and Chuchu’s work is also screening as part of the African Metropolis project which I previously featured here.

African metropolis

cinemafrica 2014

There are also talks and special Q&A sessions throughout the festival. What part does contemporary art from Africa play across the global art world? Three artists who all use visual art as one of their mediums will be hosting a discussion, international Kenyan artist Wangechi Mutu, producer/researcher/presenter Zina Saro-Wiwa and innovative filmmaker Frances Bodomo. In collaboration with the Museum of Modern Art in Stockholm. This event is free.


Stuart Hall was one of the greatest and most influential thinkers, and has been a constant presence in the global public debate for over 50 years, a pioneer in everything from the British New Left to feminist cultural analysis and postcolonial studies. In this sensitive told documentary director John Akomfrah creates a beatiful portrait of Stuart Hall from archive images and audio fragments, and creates an equal political and personal dialogue about memory, identity and our age’s dramatic history.

cinemafrica 2014

The history of black women in the American civil rights movement in the 60’s – and 70’s in a large-scale and ambitious documentary, a celebration of generations and a lesson to today’s feminists from the young, Nigeria-born filmmaker Nevline Nnaji. With a mixture of fresh interviews and archival material, we follow the emergence of a strong, international solidarity, black feminism, which is forced to fight against both sexist structures in the civil rights movement and racist structures in the women’s movement.


Some would argue that no area within the film world has changed so fast and so spectacularly in recent years as the African music videos, today a giant industry that established links with many of the most exciting and experimental willing new filmmakers. Along with a panel of directors who all have been involved in various ways in the music video world, examples will be shown and there will be discussions about the production, aesthetics, the music industry and how today directors are approaching the history and future.  Teddy Goitom from Stocktown where music videos are prominently featured, will be on the panel.

Also screening are various films I have featured here including Afronauts  and Boneshaker by Frances Bodomo,

The Robots of Brixton and Jonah by Kibwe Tavares,

Continue reading

The Future Weird | Remote Control

future weird

When: 26th March 2014
Where: Spectacle Theatre, 124 S. 3rd Street, Brooklyn, New York 11211

Presented by Derica Shields and Megan Eardley, the title is inspired by The State’s ongoing documentation of non-western futurisms. To read about previous Future Weird events I have written about go here. The Future Weird screenings focus on films by directors from Africa and the Global South. They serve to,

foreground films that are experimental, or which imagine the future from a non-Western perspective because, as Samuel R. Delaney puts it: “Science fiction isn’t just thinking about the world out there. It’s also thinking about how that world might be — a particularly important exercise for those who are oppressed, because if they’re going to change the world we live in, they — and all of us — have to be able to think about a world that works differently.”

REMOTE CONTROL is an evening of short films concerning witches and bitches – women who see, take, and sell things they cannot grasp. Whether they wield powers to possess, or are somehow controlled, the technologies these films document are deployed without regard for reciprocity or consent.
Shrouded in secrecy and activated by sympathetic thinking and emotional manipulation, REMOTE CONTROL promises the loss of individual agency, and the thrilling ability to inhabit another’s body. From the excitement surrounding the technical apparatus to the far more sinister compulsion to repurpose the humanoid, you are invited to contemplate the “human use of human beings” this month.

REMOTE CONTROL features the work of:
Shola Amoo (who will be in attendance for a post-screening Q&A of her film “Touch”).
Fyzal Boulifa
Elaine Castillo
Zina Saro Wiwa
and Lab Rats

Join them on Thursday 26th March, 8PM at the Spectacle Theatre.

Follow The Future Weird on Tumblr and Facebook.

Wangechi Mutu | Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami



Wangechi Mutu, People in Glass Towers Should not Imagine Us, 2003

Opening Reception: April 17, 2014
On view: April 18 – July 6, 2014

The Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami will present Wangechi Mutu: A Fantastic Journey, a comprehensive survey of Wangechi Mutu, a Kenya-born, New York-based artist whose multi-faceted work captures 21st century global sensibility. This retrospective began at the Nasher Museum of Art and will made its way to the Brooklyn Museum from October 2013 to March 2014 and will be at the Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art at Northwestern University in September 2014. The exhibition includes more than 50 works from the mid-1990s to the present, including a new site-specific mural and a black box theater projection of her newest video. Approximately 30 of the artist’s sketchbook drawings, dating from 1995 to the present, will also be on view, revealing fascinating insight into her creative process.

This exhibit is part of MOCA’s Knight Exhibition Series, which is made possible by a $5 million endowment allowing MOCA to fulfill its mission to present the best new and multimedia work by local and international emerging and experimental artists to a diverse audience.


Wangechi Mutu, Yo Mama, 2003


Wangechi Mutu, One Hundred Lavish Months, 2004

Since earning her M.F.A. from Yale University in 2000, Wangechi Mutu, who trained as both a sculptor and anthropologist, has come to be regarded as one of the most inventive and critically-engaged artists of her generation.  Combining materials and imagery from sources as diverse as African traditions, international politics, the high fashion industry and science fiction, Mutu creates works that depict fantastical worlds as places for profound exploration of race, gender and power. Her work is a critical investigation of issues ranging from colonialism to displacement, ritual, perceptions of Africa and the female form.

Placing centrality on the female form, Wangechi Mutu’s provocative body of work imagines hybrid creatures and surreal landscapes that comment on commercialism, globalization and cultural norms. We are thrilled to be presenting the first solo museum exhibition dedicated to her work.

– Alex Gartenfeld, MOCA Interim Director and Chief Curator

A new site-specific mixed media mural created for the MOCA presentation will welcome visitors into exhibition galleries, which will be transformed into a forest-like environment populated by the installation of large-scale felt trees. MOCA’s Pavilion Gallery will be transformed into a black box theater for the projection of the artist’s first-ever animated video The End of eating Everything, 2013, in which Mutu works with musician Santigold to bring her elaborate collages to life in a magical narrative set in the sky.



The exhibit incorporates all aspects of Mutu’s prolific practice which includes collage, drawing, installation, sculpture, performance and video. Within this setting, Mutu’s iconic collages will be prominently featured, including new commissions and rare early works. Two other videos are featured in the exhibition: Eat Cake, 2012, which addresses ritual and overindulgence and Amazing Grace, 2005, a meditation on the slave trade and displaced populations.


Still from Eat Cake (2012) by Wangechi Mutu

Other features Ciné Kenya has done about Wangechi Mutu include her incredible work as the artistic director for a Pegasus Warning music video here.

Where: Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami

When: April 18 – July 6, 2014,   Monday – Friday: 9am – 6pm

Price: General Admission: $5.00   Students & Seniors: $3.00 for concessions prices go here.



Profile of the Week | Mũchiri Njenga


Mũchiri Njenga

This week, my feature profile is Mũchiri Njenga. He is the founder of Nairobi-based boutique creative studio Studio Ang which has become a haven for independent artists that enjoy working on unique and visually innovative projects. Njenga is a self-taught transmedia artist and filmmaker whose background spans the fields of animation, motion design, music and film. Kichwateli and My World is Round are two short films by Njenga that screened at the Afrika Eye Film Festival at The Watershed in Bristol, UK last year.




Kichwateli is a short poetic film set in a post-apocalyptic African slum and city. The film takes the viewer on a spiritual and metaphorical voyage through a young boy’s dream, mixing imagery of the boy wandering inquisitively with a live TV as his head to show the effects of media on a young generation.

The short film features music by Just A Band, Modeselektor ( a breakbeat duo from Berlin) and Maasai Mbili (Nairobi-based Art group). The music is a metaphor for the way we are now all plugged into the same images of global anxiety while at the same time we ourselves, are subjects of scrutiny by the all-seeing ubiquitous cameras. The director of Goethe-Institut Nairobi Johannes Hossfeld said this of the project,

Muchiri made one of the best music videos I have ever seen in my life.

Kichwateli was Studio Ang’s contribution to the BLNRB project, a cooperation between Kenyan and German musicians initiated by Goethe-Institut Nairobi and Gebrüder Teichmann. Learn more about the filmmaking process for Kichwateli and the inspirations that led to it’s production by clicking here.


Portrait by Allan Gichigi


Our World Is Round

Our World Is Round  is a short film that celebrates the life-time achievement of veteran Kenyan cyclist David Kinjah and his award winning team Safari Simbaz. The film details how Kinjah discovered cycling and what brings him joy in this activity. Having raced and won medals in prestigious races around the world, Kinjah also mentored Tour De France 2013 winner Chris Froome.


Kinjah, the first black African rider to sign for a European cycling team, trained Froome as a cyclist when he was a boy while his family was living in Kenya. The film also delineates Kinjah’s strong desire to transform the lives of the people in his village through his passion and the power of cycling. This is an initiative which has taken form in the Safari Simbaz Trust,

Most of these young boys are school dropouts who would have ended up being gangsters. But through Safari Simbaz, they’ve learned a lot about life, gone back to school and most of them [now] have a career in pro-cycling, representing Kenya in international races globally.

In this film, the advantages that new technology has provided are also brought to the fore. When Kinjah first started cycling professionally, he mainly relied on magazines and newspapers. Now, with the help of web developer Fady Rostom, Kinjah and his team have an online presence that can be reached globally. Read more about the film and view more photos at a previous feature I wrote here.

Continue reading

Lupita Nyong’o | Rising Star & Captivating Presence


Lupita at a Dinner hosted by Vogue’s Sally Singer for fashion label Sacai, 23rd Oct 2013. Photo: Pablo Frisk

What a pleasure it was to spend time with someone so talented and charismatic. In April 2013, Kenyan actress Lupita Nyong’o was my very first ‘Profile of The Week’ feature where I noted her early accomplishments including  In My Genes, a documentary that detailed the plight of people living with Albinism in Kenya, her stage work while she studied at the Yale School of Drama and her leading role in the MTV award-winning drama series Shuga.

Since then, she has gone on to garner considerable fame and acclaim for her searing role as Patsey in the historical drama film 12 Years A Slave directed by British artist and filmmaker Steve McQueen. The story is based on the memoir of Solomon Northup, a Black man and talented musician who was born free in New York state, kidnapped in Washington D.C., then sold into slavery and kept in bondage for 12 years. The screenplay was adapted by John Ridley. The film has been awarded 370 nominations and won 183 awards thus far. Lupita has been nominated for 37 awards and has won 28. To find out more about her award wins and the upcoming major events during this awards season, go here.


Director Steve McQueen with actors Lupita Nyong’o and Chiwetel Ejiofor at the premiere of 12 Years a Slave at the BFI Film Festival premiere in London.

I felt very honoured to receive an invitation to attend the London premiere and gala reception (sponsored by Accenture) of 12 Years A Slave in London during the BFI London Film Festival. View photographs (courtesy of my friend and plus one for the night, Janet of Cool On Demand & Fashion Democracy) from the premiere in the slide-show below.

The film rendered me speechless then, and again, when I watched it for a second time at The Watershed which was followed up by an informative Q&A session led by Dr. Edson Burton. So much so, that I have been unable to compose a response to it that captures my thoughts to a satisfactory degree. Hence, my delay in writing again about Nyong’o or the film. As a testament to how great her performance was, she has also been nominated for the most prestigious award of all, Best Actress In A Supporting Role from The Academy of Motion Pictures and Sciences (Oscars). Watch the full announcement of the nominations here:

Lupita has since been chosen for the 20th Hollywood issue cover of Vanity Fair along with a slew of distinguished actors (photographed by Annie Leibovitz), and hosted on the Hollywood Reporter’s Actresses Roundtable along with esteemed actresses Oprah Winfrey (The Butler), Octavia Spencer (Fruitvale Station), Emma Thompson (Saving Mr. Banks) and Amy Adams (American Hustle).

Read more about Lupita’s rise to fame as a fashion icon below and watch the full Hollywood Reporter interview here:

Continue reading

Watch ’12 Years A Slave’ And Other Films For FREE (Fans In Kenya)

paa ya paa

Paa Ya Paa Arts Centre are holding a films and media exhibition as part of Black History Month. The arts centre is a place for inspiration and development for indigenous artists and art lovers. Their programs include visual arts, music, dance, theatre and photography. Paa Ya Paa describe their name origin as,

a compound Swahili name which literally means “The Antelope Rising”. In Swahili “paa” means “rise” and also means an “antelope”. In the 1960s the antelope had become a regular subject for the curio wood carvers designed to attract tourists in East Africa. Symbolically, therefore, Paa Ya Paa is a spiritual calling in the hope that the simple artistic expressions will rise in to a new realm of open-minded creative adventures, adventures that will give new scope for free creative self-expressions of the artist as well as the ethics and aesthetics that make the pursuit of excellence in the creative arts a worthwhile discipline.

There will be a mixed media exhibit that can be viewed before the start of the films and there are moderated discussions after the screenings. All screenings are FREE and will take place at Paa Ya Paa Arts Centre in Ridgeways. The schedule is as follows:


12 Years A Slave, Saturday February 8th 2014, 16:00

This is a historical drama film 12 Years A Slave directed by British artist and filmmaker Steve McQueen. It is also notable for being Kenyan actress Lupita Nyong’o‘s first film role for which she has been nominated and won a host of awards. The story is based on the memoir of Solomon Northup, a Black man (played by Chiwetel Ejiofor) and talented musician who was born free in New York state, kidnapped in Washington D.C., then sold into slavery and kept in bondage for 12 years.




Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, Saturday February 15th 2014, 16:00

Based on South African President Nelson Mandela‘s autobiography of the same name, which chronicles his early life, coming of age, education and 27 years in prison before becoming President and working to rebuild the country’s once segregated society. The film stars Idris Elba as Nelson Mandela and Naomie Harris as Winnie Madikizela–Mandela.




The Butler, Saturday February 22nd 2014, 16:00

Loosely based on the real life of Eugene Allen, the film stars Forest Whitaker as Cecil Gaines, an African-American who eyewitnesses notable events of the 20th century during his 34-year tenure serving as a White House butler, and Oprah Winfrey plays his wife Gloria Gaines.

Maafa 21: Black Genocide in 21st Century America, Saturday March 1st 2014, 16:00

Maafa 21 is a film that argues the modern-day prevalence of abortion among African Americans is rooted in an attempted genocide or maafa of black people. It alleges that the eugenics movement that targeted African Americans in the 19th and 20th centuries formed the basis for the creation of the American Birth Control League (now Planned Parenthood) by Margaret Sanger and the abortion-rights movement of the 20th and 21st centuries. Maafa is derived from a Swahili term for “disaster” or “great tragedy”. View the trailer here:

Paa Ya Paa Arts Centre
Paa Ya Paa Lane, Ridgeways Road (Off) Kiambu Road
P.O.Box 49646-00100 NAIROBI, Kenya
Tel. +254 (0)20 851 2257 Cel. +254- 733 270 109

Watch ‘Something Necessary’ For FREE


something necessary

The fourth film in the HBF x Hivos Online Series is Something Necessary by Judy Kibinge, available from Friday 31 January 2014, 11:00 hrs (CET) for 24 hours worldwide (except in Germany, the UK and Switzerland) on the IFFR YouTube channel. Something Necessary was given a Hubert Bals Fund grant for Post-production Support in 2012.



Something Necessary shows the impact of the 2007 post-election violence,

Election violence based on ethnicity is a recurrent phenomenon in Kenya, but the destruction in 2007 was unparalleled. Youth gangs egged on by politicians roamed the country for three months, plundering, raping and murdering. Some 1200 people were killed. Over 300,000 Kenyans fled. The International Court of Justice in The Hague is still investigating suspects.
Anne is one of the victims: her husband dead, son in a coma, farm destroyed and she herself ended up in a hospital bed. For the sake of her child, she wants to build up her life again, whatever the cost. She meets Joseph, who was on the side of the culprits during the riots. He is burdened by guilt, but is still under the control of the gang he was a member of. Both look for a way out.
Something Necessary tells the true story. The film primarily shows how complex things are when it’s not about the statistics of a conflict but the people behind the numbers.


Hivos in Kenya

From behind the scenes, Hivos supports independent cinema in Kenya. Hivos is partner of the Kenya Media Programme and the Big Fish School of Digital Filmmaking that aim to improve the quality of journalism and filmmaking in Kenya. To help Kenya have a free, fair, peaceful and credible elections Hivos partnered with Ushahidi, a Kenya technology developer, and various civil society organisations to come up with the joint initiative Uchaguzi to monitor Kenya’s electoral process. Uchaguzi means ‘election’ in Swahili. Hivos facilitated the process of creating an election monitoring platform in 2013.

About the director
Judy KIBINGE (1967, Kenya) moved to the US and later to the UK during her childhood and studied communication in Manchester. After her return to Kenya she worked in advertising and became the country’s first black creative director. Since 1999 she has dedicated herself fully to film. She is the driving force behind film production house Seven, established in 2006. Her debut A Dangerous Affair received an award at the Zanzibar Film Festival in 2003. Something Necessary is her third feature film.

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.

Continue reading

Vote for ‘Yellow Fever’ ! | Afrinolly Short Film Competition

yellow fever

Yellow Fever, by Kenyan artist and filmmaker Ng’endo Mukii has been shortlisted for the Afrinolly short film competition! Yellow Fever won the Silver Hugo for Best Animated Short at the Chicago International Film Festival, Best Short at the Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Awards, Best Student Film at the Underexposed Film Festival YC, and a Special Mention at the Internationale Kurzfilmtage Oberhausen.


This is the first time it is available to watch online in full for free, ALL 7 minutes of rotoscoping, hand-drawn animation, pixilation and dancing! The film stands the chance to win, $5000 (3rd place) $10,000 (2nd place) and $25,000 (1st place).
Voting ends on Sunday 19th of January.

All you need to do is:
-click here
-Log in using your google+ or Facebook ID (the more the merrier!)
-Yellow Fever is in the Documentary category and you can vote there.

This is the first time Yellow Fever is available to watch online in full for free, ALL 7 minutes of rotoscoping, hand-drawn animation, pixilation, dancing, sweat and blood!!
Continue reading

Ethiopia Skate


Ethiopia Skate is an organization dedicated to supporting youth in Ethiopia through skateboarding and education. It was founded by Abenezer Temesgen & Sean Stromsoe in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. They are in the process of establishing a non-profit organization and have collected an international team of skateboarders and organizers to help promote skateboarding in Ethiopia.



They are planning to build Ethiopia’s first mobile mini halfpipe and move it around the city over the course of 2 weeks and will teach children the basics of skateboarding. They will then put the ramp in an accessible location as they build the first ever skatepark in Ethiopian history. They also plan to give at least 100 skateboards to youth organizations and local children as well as start to manufacture their our own decks.

Continue reading