The University of Stirling is delighted to announce its support for Scotland’s first ever African Film Festival, Africa in Motion (AiM), which takes place 20-29 October at Edinburgh’s Filmhouse Cinema.
The festival, which is being run by Stop and Stir Arts Ltd in conjunction with the University of Stirling’s School of Languages, Cultures and Religions, the University of Edinburgh’s Centre of African Studies (CAS) and the Scottish Documentary Institute,
has attracted funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and Awards for All.
Artistic Director of Stop and Stir Arts and University of Stirling researcher, Lizelle Bisschoff says: “Despite the depth and breadth of filmmaking on the African continent, African cinema remains one of the most underrepresented cinemas worldwide. Opportunities to see African films in Britain are very rare, yet some of the most evocative and imaginatively original films have been created on the African continent since the 1950s. AiM offers audiences in Scotland the chance to view some of the best and most hard-to-find of African films. The extensive programme includes some of the most significant African classics, unearths a number of “lost classics” and showcases contemporary groundbreaking films.”
Lost African Classics to be screened include films from the early work of pioneering African filmmakers: Senegalese director Djibril Diop Mambety, Nigerian filmmaker Moustapha Alassane and Ivorian filmmaker Desiré Ecaré – there is only one print still in existence for some of these films and English subtitles have been created especially for AiM.
Many of the films featuring at AiM have never been seen in Scotland, or indeed the UK before, and the festival will be unprecedented in its scope and diversity.
Film critic and Stirling alumnus Mark Cousins (BA Film & Media Studies and Fine Art 1987) says: “At a time when mainstream American cinema is underperforming and under nourishing, and when so much film programming seems stuck in a loop, repeating the same “classics” over and over, Africa in Motion is a brilliant and long overdue window onto a world of auteurs, masterpieces, passionate polemics and gorgeous vistas. Move over Scorsese – Sembene, Ouedraogo and Mambety are the filmmakers who are belatedly exciting us. AiM is, quite simply, one of the best programmes of films ever to be shown in Scotland.”
Other directors whose work will be featured include veteran Senegalese filmmaker Ousmane Sembene, widely regarded as the “father of African cinema”; Egyptian filmmaker Youssef Chahine, who received a lifetime achievement award at Cannes in 1997; Senegalese filmmaker Safi Faye, the first sub-Saharan African women to direct a feature-length film, Kaddu Beykat in 1975; Malian director Souleymane Cissé, who won the Prix du Jury at Cannes in 1987 for his stunning film Yeelen (AiM’s opening film); and South African filmmaker Ramadan Suleman, whose award-winning feature
Zulu Love Letter will have its UK premiere at AiM on the losing night of the festival.
Placing the festival in the context of the current spotlight on Africa, Lizelle Bisschoff says: “Drawing on the prevalence of Africa and African issues highlighted in the last year, following events such as the G8 Summit at Gleneagles, AiM gives Scottish audiences unprecedented access to artistic representations of the complexities and diversities of African cultures through the eyes of Africa’s best directors.”
Film screenings will be accompanied by a range of free complementary events including panel discussions, workshops and a symposium, presented by high-profile critics and theorists, as well as events for secondary school children. Throughout the festival African musicians, poets and artists will perform and exhibit their work in the Filmhouse café. Books, art work and CDs will also be on display and for sale in the Filmhouse foyer. For the full programme please visit:

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