TropFest Nairobi |23rd & 25th March 2014


Tropfest is Australia’s most prestigious short film festival and one of its most iconic cultural events. It is also the largest short film festival in the world. Tropfest is recognised for its enormous contribution to the development of the Australian film industry by providing unique platforms for talented filmmakers through its events and initiatives, and new and expanded audiences for their work.

The annual short film competition is open to anyone who wishes to enter – regardless of their background or experience. 16 Finalists are selected from an entry pool of an average 700 annual entries and compete for more than $100,000 in prizes. Past judges have included some of the best and well known actors and directors in the world including John Woo, Cate Blanchett, Samuel L Jackson, Baz Luhrmann, Geoffrey Rush, Sam Neill, Ewan McGregor, Jane Campion, Salma Hayek, and Gabriel Byrne.

As a guest of the Australian High Commission in Pretoria, Tropfest Managing Director Michael Laverty, will visit Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, Johannesburg and Pretoria to present a series of short film screenings to South African audiences. The film program will comprise highlights from former Tropfest Australia winners and finalists between the years 2005 and December 2013. Tropfest films will also be screened at events in Kenya and Zimbabwe this month. The screenings form part of Tropfest’s commitment to fostering filmmaking talent at an international level,

The massive expansion of Tropfest around the globe conveys a worldwide appetite for fresh storytelling voices. It is so exciting to have Tropfest travel to Africa. We know that there is an enormous community of storytellers in this region, and we hope to one day establish a local platform for these filmmakers – with a global audience to share their stories with.

– Tropfest Founder and Director, John Polson

I am proud that Australia is supporting this important cultural exchange in the film sector, and hope that Tropfest will be well received by South African audiences. This festival forms part of a larger program of cultural and sporting events planned to coincide with this year’s 20th anniversary of democracy celebrations, which will showcase the strong and diverse Australia-South Africa relationship to the broader public.

– HE Mr Graeme Wilson, Australia’s High Commissioner to South Africa

How can short film festivals provide a platform for talented young filmmakers?

Continue reading

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.

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

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

The 48 Hour Film Project | Nairobi


Coming to Kenya for the very first time, The 48 Hour Film Project is a sleepless weekend in which you and your team have a great time making a movie. All writing, shooting, editing and scoring must be completed in just 48 hours.

On Friday night, you are assigned a character, a prop, a line of dialogue and a genre, that must be included in your movie. 48 hours later, you must submit your film. Next? Your masterpiece will show on the big screen of a local theater.

The 48 Hour Film Project’s mission is to advance filmmaking and promote filmmakers. Through its festival/competition, the Project encourages filmmakers and would-be filmmakers to get out there and make movies. The tight deadline of 48 hours puts the focus squarely on the filmmakers—emphasizing creativity and teamwork skills. While the time limit places an unusual restriction on the filmmakers, it is also liberating by putting an emphasis on “doing” instead of “talking.”

In May 2001, Mark Ruppert came up with this idea and enlisted his filmmaking partner, Liz Langston, and several other DC filmmakers to form their own teams and join him in this experiment. However, the question was, “Would films made in only 48 hours even be watchable?” Ten years later, and with more than 700 competitions having taken place around the world, the success of the project is plain to see.  In 2013 the 48HFP will visit more than 120 cities where more than 60,000 people will make short films. The Project has truly spread to the four corners of the globe as filmmakers from Asia, Australia, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and the Americas will compete to see who can make the best short film in a weekend.

Places are still available so register here!


Pitching Workshop | Afrika Eye



The Afrika Eye Festival in Bristol, UK will return for its 8th consecutive year from 8th – 10th November 2013. This year’s theme is Kenya in celebration of 50 years of independence.

Prior to the launch of the festival, Afrika Eye have organised a pitching workshop. Read the brief below:

Pitching, or presenting your film idea, to professionals is a vital skill in getting your film made. So this year, Afrika Eye decided to hold some mentored sessions where a selected group of film makers (or would-be film makers) get 4 minutes to pitch their idea to film professionals in front of an audience.

The pitch with the most votes from the film professionals will win a small cash prize towards making the film happen. You’re eligible if:

  • You live in or near Bristol
  • Your idea is for a 5 – 10 minute film
  • You are African, African Heritage or your idea is connected to Africa

There are 2 sessions.

The first will be a mentoring workshop on October 24 , 9.30-1pm at Watershed arts centre for 20-30 people, split into into groups of 10.

You’ll learn how to write, time and present your pitch.

From each group, the 2 pitches judged to have the most potential to be made into films will be selected to pitch in the second session. At the second session, the selected pitches will be presented to a team of film professionals plus an audience of the other workshop participants and interested public.

The professional team will award a small cash prize to the most outstanding pitch. More importantly, all participants will have the chance to learn from the professionals and turn their ideas into saleable pitches.

E-mail your film pitch idea to us at by 15th October.

1 page only, with:

  • your name, age and address
  • a tag line for your film if you have one
  • the story, the character(s)
  • how you are going to tell the story
  • if you have stills or a trailer or any samples, you can attach them – they may be useful as part of your pitch.

Good Luck!



The Future Weird | The Black Atlantis


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.


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.


RSVP for the event here.

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

Africa Movie Academy Award Winner Set to Make North American Debut

Portrait of Akosua by Mantse Aryeequaye

Portrait of Akosua by Mantse Aryeequaye

The Huffington Post recently named Akosua Adoma Owusu “Most Promising Filmmaker” at the Ann Arbor Film Festival, and one of the “Top 30 Black Contemporary Artists Under 40”. Her semi-autobiographical film, Kwaku Ananse has been winning awards of its own on the international stage this year. Now, both film and filmmaker are headed to the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), where Kwaku Ananse will make its North American debut.
Kwaku Ananse is one of a handful of shorts being featured in the program titled ‘To Repel Ghosts: Urban Tales from the African Continent’, which showcases remarkably uncanny and fiercely contemporary African stories.