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Africa in Motion

Still from Johnny Mad Dog

A film festival organized by undergraduate students at the University of St Andrews will showcase the best in African cinema and explore issues of trauma, conflict and resolution in the UN’s Year of Reconciliation.

Aiming to overcome the under-representation of African film in the UK and to introduce Scottish audiences to the riches of African cinema, the Africa in Motion festival will take place in St Andrews for the first time. It follows the major Africa in Motion festival in Edinburgh last month.

Organiser Helen Amiri, a Film Studies student at the University, was inspired by the Edinburgh based festival’s co-founder Lizelle Bisschoff to organize her own version of the festival in St Andrews.

Helen said, “I found 3 other students in St Andrews who were equally passionate about the venture, and from our experiences in other societies we done what we can to make this festival as successful as possible.”

The festival will showcase 3 films from African filmmakers at the New Picture House Cinema on Friday 20th and Saturday 21st November.

Johnny Mad Dog, directed by Jean-Stéphane Sauvaire and showing on Friday at 6pm, portrays the atrocities of an ongoing civil war in an unnamed African country. Fifteen year old Johnny Mad Dog heads a platoon of soldiers younger than himself and leads his band of killers on a murderous attempt to unseat the government.

Winner of the Golden Palm at the Valencia Film Festival in 2007, La Maison Jaune (The Yellow House) sets a small and close-knit community against the loneliness of the Aures mountains as a father deals with the loss of his son. A colourful film by director Amor Hakkar, La Maison Juane is a visually stunning, touching and evocative road-movie. Showing on Saturday at 2pm, the film will be introduced by Stefanie Van de Peer, co-director of the original Africa in Motion festival.

Award-winning feature film Flame, directed by Ingrid Sinclair, is a powerful tribute to female freedom fighters in Zimbabwe’s War of Liberation from 1975 to 1980. A stunning portrait of multi-dimensional African women, the film was also highly controversial in its retelling of the war and its representation of the sexual exploitation of female combatants by their male comrades. It became the first Zimbabwean feature to be selected for the Cannes Film Festival, where it received high acclaim.

“We were drawn to choosing films from different regions to show different ways of expressing the stories.” Helen explains. “Flame, in particular, was attractive to everyone on the festival committee – it focused on women and their participation in perpetuating violence. Their reconciliation with that was intriguing to us.”

“We think that this festival is a great opportunity for the whole community to see films they otherwise would not get a chance to see. Films selected for the Africa in Motion film festival are the top films coming out of Africa each year, and the ones we’re showing here in St Andrews are among the best overall.”

Africa in Motion will take place on Friday 20th and Saturday 21st November at the New Picture House Cinema, North Street, St Andrews. All screenings are open to the public. For further information, please contact Helen Amiri on ha78@st-andrews.ac.uk.

ENDS

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Ref: Africa in Motion 191109
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