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,

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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.

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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

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!!
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The Donkey That Carried The Cloud On Its Back


© Philippa Ndisi-Herrmann

Director: Philippa Ndisi-Hermann
Producer: Atieno Odenyo
Category: Documentary
Language: English
Crowdfunding period: 12th of November – 22th of December

The International Documentary Film Festival and CineCrowd present a special crowdfunding campaign from Kenya: The Donkey that Carried the Cloud on its Back. The film, by Philippa Ndisi Hermann and Atieno Odenyo also received financial support from the IDFA Bertha Fund and participated in the IDFA WorldView Summer School last July.

This documentary feature film is about the Kenyan island, Lamu, which is an island frozen in time. Now, Africa’s largest port is being constructed there. It was once a rich trading town and the East African coast gave rise to a new culture and a new people – the Swahili. Lamu town survived and has been declared a UNESCO world heritage site.

The port foundation stone was laid last year. At a cost of 3.5 billion USD, the port will be capable of handling ships almost half the size of the island of up to 100,000 tonnes. Lamu Island has one car and more than 3000 donkeys. Electricity is provided by generators and there is no modern water sewage system. Marginalised economically by mainland Kenya. Lamu relies on tourism where backpackers rub shoulders with the Princess of Monaco.

foreboding change

The use of still photos in the documentary is so as to evoke the possibility of foreboding change. © Philippa Ndisi-Herrmann


A baptism at the shore of the Indian Ocean. Lamu island is predominantly Muslim. The Baptists came from a town 1000 km away. Aug 2013
© Philippa Ndisi-Herrmann

The advent of the port is giving rise to land speculations, to environmental concerns, to the influx of people, change is coming, change is needed. Is this what the port will bring?

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Not Yet Kenyan | Film Investigates Al Shabab & the Somali-Kenyan Divide


An Al Jazeera documentary takes an in-depth look at the grievances that Kenyan-Somalis have toward the Kenyan government and how Al Qaeda-affiliated group Al Shabaab is taking advantage of this to establish a foothold in the region.

Not Yet Kenyan, filmed just before the Westgate Mall attack in Nairobi, exposes how Al Shabaab militants and their sympathizers have carried out a series of attacks in North Eastern Kenya to test the resolve of Kenya’s security system before bringing their campaign of violence to the capital.

In the documentary, Al Jazeera correspondent Mohammed Adow travels to his hometown of Garissa in Kenya’s North East Province to investigate the escalating violence caused by serious insecurity in the region. Mohammed asserts that the horrific massacre at Nairobi’s Westgate mall, although shocking, was not surprising. Following Kenya’s invasion of Somalia in 2011 there have been more than 100 revenge attacks in the country by al Shabaab and its sympathizers.

The KDF operation in Somalia was named ‘Linda Nchi’- Kiswahili for protect the nation. But residents of this part of the country have not been protected, leaving them to suffer at the hands of both the militants and Kenyan security forces whenever attacks occurred.

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Call for Submissions | DOCUBOX – The East African Documentary Film Fund


DOCUBOX is a new East African documentary film fund that supports documentary filmmakers from  Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania with grants to complete their projects. They  also provide support and input from internationally acclaimed documentary filmmakers from the conceptual stage, right through to the production and post-production stages of our supported projects.

Submit your documentary film project and become a DOCUBOX member when you do.

The deadline for this year is October 1st 2013.

submit your applications here.

Applications for funding are currently only for projects being shot and produced within Kenya, by nationals from the specified regional countries. The films are supported in two stages:

  1. project development & trailer development
  2. production &  post-production

In the first part of the program, DOCUBOX will offer a maximum of 10 filmmakers the chance to develop their concept and make trailers, or shoot a short section of their film, supported by grants of $2,000. All participating filmmakers granted $2,000 to make these trailers and are not selected for further development by DOCUBOX, are free to use these trailers to pursue further funding or to develop the trailers into feature films, provided they credit DOCUBOX for the development grant assistance.

In the second stage of the program, a selection panel will choose the most promising projects from the completed trailers and support a maximum of 6 projects each receiving a maximum of $25,000 to complete production of their films.


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Al Jazeera Documentaries to Investigate the French-African Connection


On Thursdays during August and September, Al Jazeera will screen three documentary series (The French-African Connection, Black France and Algeria: The Test of Power) that spotlight the complex and topical relationship between France and Africa.

In January 2013, France responded to Mali’s request for assistance by launching a military intervention in Mali to prevent the Al-Qaeda-affiliated groups from taking control of the country. Is France pursuing a neo-colonial policy? Is it continuing “Françafrique,” the term coined to define France’s relationships with its former African colonies in which it supported unpopular African politicians for the sake of its economic interests in the region?

In a recent visit to Dakar, French president Francois Hollande declared the end of the “Françafrique” era. But is that really the case?


The French-African Connection

The French-African Connection which premiered on Thursday, 8 August 2013,  is a gripping three-part series that tells the dark and dramatic history of France’s relationships with its former African colonies.

The French-African Connection is a brutal and nefarious tale of corruption; massacres; dictators supported and progressive leaders murdered; weapons-smuggling; cloak-and-dagger secret services; and spectacular military operations. The series includes interviews with former oil barons; investigating judges into corruption scandals; former French ambassadors to African states; former French secret services; African presidents; and Francois Mitterand’s son.

The second and third episodes will premiere on 15 and 22 August respectively.

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Encounters Names Audience Award winners


The Village Under The Forest


Marina Abramovic: The Artist is Present

The Village Under The Forest has won the Audience Award at Encounters South African International Documentary Festival for Best South African Film, while Marina Abramovic: The Artist is Present was voted Best International Film. The 15th Encounters South African International Documentary Festival ran from 6-16 June 2013 at The Bioscope in Jozi and at Nu Metro at the V&A Waterfront and The Fugard in Cape Town.

The Village Under The Forest explores the hidden remains of the destroyed Palestinian village of Lubya, which lies under a purposefully cultivated forest plantation called South Africa Forest. Directed by Emmy-winner Mark J Kaplan and written and narrated by scholar and author Heidi Grunebaum, The Village Under The Forest unfolds as a personal meditation from the Jewish Diaspora.

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Profile of the Week | Ng’endo Mukii


Portrait by Bilsel Battal

Ng’endo Mukii is an award-winning Kenyan filmmaker whose work ranges from animations to documentaries. Born and raised in Kenya, she also undertook further education in UK and USA. Yellow Fever which was featured on Ciné Kenya previously here, is a short film that has become her most well known work and has seen her attend a range of festivals over the past year. It explores the theme of skin bleaching in Africa.

Yellow Fever, her thesis project work from the Royal College of Art (RCA) in the UK, is an animation that is based on real interviews and memories. In particular, the responses from her niece regarding the subject  of skin colour and the privilege afforded to those with light or white complexions are very touching and insightful. It was while previously studying illustration at the Rhode Island School of Design in the US that Ng’endo first tried out some video and animation projects.




Ng’endo spoke to Business Daily Africa about the impetus behind the Yellow Fever project,

I interviewed my family asking questions about our physical appearance as African women. Even though I was only focusing on them, it’s supposed to have wider view of what is going on in Kenya. Using animation instead of a camera also made it a lot easier to talk to my niece because she was about six at the time and the things she ended up saying were really sensitive.

Media: Hand-drawn animation, computer animation, pixilation, live action.

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