CinemAfrica Sweden 2014 | 19 – 23 March

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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The Future Weird | Remote Control

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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

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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.

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Wangechi Mutu, Yo Mama, 2003

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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.

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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.

 
 

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Profile of the Week | Mũchiri Njenga

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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.

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Kichwateli

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.

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Portrait by Allan Gichigi

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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.

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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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Usoni | Kenyan Sci-Fi Series Imagines Africa As World Oasis for Immigration

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According to the official synposis, the year is 2062. In the wake of a global catastrophe an inexperienced young couple embark on a treacherous journey to reach mankind’s last cradle of hope. Africa. But before their dream can be realized they must first overcome the worst of humanity, beat the impossible odds, experience great sacrifice and above all, never lose their faith.

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At its core, it is a story of immigration, but instead of the expected Africans seeking better opportunities abroad, the series paints a portrait of how it would look if the reverse were to happen and Europeans were in fact the refugees.This series could not be more timely according to TechMoran,

At a time when Africa receives 50,000 Greencard Lottery wins each year to migrate to the US alone, this new production series seeks to address ongoing immigration issues within the world. It is also expected to change the negative portrayal of Africa as a poverty stricken continent to that of an avenue for development, of which, would gradually discourage youth from seeking “greener pastures” abroad.
The pilot screened on 27th November 2013 at the USIU auditorium and was open to the students and public.

Many thanks to Shadow & Act and AfroFuturist Affair

The Future Weird | The Black Atlantis

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Friends over at Shadow and Act announced an intriguing event is taking this week, Monday, August 26th, at Spectacle Theater, 124 S. 3rd Street, Brooklyn, New York 11211. THE FUTURE WEIRD is a new monthly series screening films which are set in imagined futures, made by African & global south directors. Presented by Derica Shields and Megan Eardley, the title is inspired by The State’s ongoing documentation of non-western futurisms.

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According to Afrofuturist legend, Drexciya is a sunken land inhabited by the children of African women who were drowned during the Middle Passage. Since they were never born, these children continued to breath underwater: first through amniotic fluid, then through lungs better suited to the new world. Join us as we go in search of the “Black Atlantis”.

Water is a cleansing force through which our bodies may be reborn, but it is also a site of memory where disappeared and suppressed things resurface, wash up, or return to us as detritus. Through myths that traverse the Black diaspora we meet a beautiful and dangerous sea goddess named mama wata. Following tourists and then refugees fleeing Europe, we consider stories concerning identity, slavery and commerce, high seas adventure, and the joint appeal and terror of being visited by ancestors or haunted by an unknown past.

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RSVP for the event here.

Read more about the previous Future Weird event titled ‘Visions of Excess’ here.

The Future Weird | Visions of Excess

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Friends over at Shadow and Act announced an intriguing event is taking this week, Wednesday, July 31, at Spectacle Theater, 124 S. 3rd Street, Brooklyn, New York 11211. THE FUTURE WEIRD is a new monthly series screening films which are set in imagined futures, made by African & global south directors. Presented by Derica Shields and Megan Eardley, the title is inspired by The State’s ongoing documentation of non-western futurisms.

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Included in the screening series is Cameroonian director Jean-Pierre Bekolo’s satirical sci-fi vampire film Les Saignantes (The Bleeders) alongside shorts by Wangechi Mutu and Kibwe Tavares plus weird and wonderful clips from forgotten corners of the colonial archive.

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Update | Afronauts, Casting Announcements and Teaser Trailer

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Photo courtesy of Powder Room Films

A film by Frances Bodomo
12 min | B&W | High Definition | NTSC |16:9
USA, 2013
Status:  In post-production

Afronauts is a pre-thesis film by talented filmmaker Frances Bodomo which Ciné Kenya previously featured here.

Since then, several casting choices were announced. Stunning model/actress Diandra Forrest (you can see her in Kanye West’s ‘Power‘ music video) will be playing Matha and prolific actress/director Yolonda Ross (HBO’s Treme, Yelling to the Sky and her own film Breaking Night) is playing Auntie Sunday. We are also pleased to announce Bodomo’s Kickstarter campaign has also achieved its fund-raising goal days before its deadline. The teaser trailer above released recently, features the haunting Elvis Presley rendition of ‘Blue Moon’.

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Diandra Forrest

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Yolonda Ross

The film tells an alternative history of the 1960s Space Race; it’s July 16th 1969 the night of the moon landing. The project is based on a true story. The dreams of space travel led science school teacher Edward Makuka Nkoloso to found a National Space Academy of Science, Space Research, and Astronomical Research in an old farmhouse outside of Lusaka. As America prepares to send Apollo 11 to the moon, a rag-tag group of exiles in the Zambian desert are trying to beat America to the same destination. There’s only one problem: their spacegirl, Matha, is five months pregnant. Afronauts follows characters that have not been able to find a home on earth and are therefore attracted to the promise of the space race.

Bodomo’s previous short film Boneshaker starring Quvenzhané Wallis premiered at 2013 Sundance Film Festival and is currently continuing its festival run.

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Photo courtesy of Powder Room Films

Afronauts

Jonah: A Story of Legend, Friendship and Survival by Kibwe Tavares

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Jonah is a short by Kibwe Tavares. It is set in Zanzibar and looks at the effects tourism can have on a country from an economic and environmental perspective. By utilising a narrative of  friendship between Mbwana and his best friend Juma, these themes are explored. Mbwana and Juma are men with big dreams. Dreams that become a reality when they photograph “the world’s biggest jumping fish” leaping out of the sea.

Their tiny town soon blossoms into a tourist hot-spot as a result. But for Mbwana, the reality isn’t what he dreamed – when he meets the fish again, both of them forgotten, ruined and old, he decides only one of them can survive.

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