Fresh takes on young African cinema

2012-07-15 09:17
Charl Blignaut
Young African film makers who were born in an independent Africa don’t have the same issues as their parents, says South African producer Steven Markovitz of Big World Cinema.

“They have globalised minds. They are emerging from film schools or have studied abroad, and are returning home and redefining African film.”

Markovitz is talking about his latest project, African Metropolis – seven short films by seven young film makers from seven African cities – which will be officially launched at the Durban FilmMart next week.

Backed by the Goethe-Institut, South Africa and the Hubert Bals Fund of the Rotterdam Film Festival, the project will travel the world screening the shorts at festivals.

The seven directors – from South Africa, Ivory Coast, Egypt, Senegal, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Nigeria and Kenya – met one another today in Durban to begin workshops to develop their scripts.

They were selected after pitching their stories to a panel.

Their films will cross all styles of film making, but will all reflect a contemporary, urban African experience.

There are films about surreal taxi drives in Kinshasa, American artist Jean-Michel Basquiat’s wild evening in Abidjan and revolution allegories about children at the Giza zoo.

There’s a controversial film about two women in Dakar and a thriller set on a bus in Lagos.

South African film maker Vincent Moloi has been selected for a haunting short about an old man, a prostitute and urban renewal in Joburg.

Especially intriguing is A Sun Came by Jim Chuchu, an end-of-the-world thriller set in Nairobi.

“There is surprising new content,” says Markovitz, adding that when the time came to pair the films to production houses, he noted a rise in young female producers across Africa.

His collaboration with the DRC’s Djo Munga on Viva Riva took the cinema world by storm and opened up new inter-African production opportunities.