5 YEARS OF AFRIKAMERA – CONTEMPORARY AFRICAN CINEMA
The Berlin film festival landscape is the most diverse in the country. In the slipstream of the Berlinale the past years have seen a multitude of new, independent festivals emerge, covering the total spectrum of world cinema with their programs. Getting together five years ago to establish a festival for young, African cinema, we were therefore greatly astonished – more than 50 film festivals in the capital, none representing the diverse film production of the African continent?
Thus we five years ago founded the association toucouleur e.V.: AFRIKAMERA – CONTEMPORARY AFRICAN CINEMA was born.
From the outset we felt obligated by the idea of using the film media to show another Africa, not only consisting of violence, decease and natural disasters. We wanted to counter these stereotypical images and opinions about the continent with the diverse facets of everyday life in Africa.
What started with a small, vespertine preview in Hackesche Höfe Filmtheater in November 2007, has meanwhile established itself as an annual event in the Berliner festival landscape, and will for the fourth time take place this November in Kino Arsenal at Potsdamer Platz.
For five years AFRIKAMERA has offered young, African filmmakers of the „Post Independence Generation“ a venue in the German capital where they can present their projects and thus induce a dialogue with a broader audience. At the same time AFRIKAMERA sees itself as a platform of exchange of / between filmmakers, producers, festival makers and distributors.
The focal points of our programs take on different issues: as our first edition was dedicated to the connection between migration and cultural identity (AFRIKAMERA 2008: „Migrating Identities“), 2009 centered on the sound landscapes of Africa in film (AFRIKAMERA 2009: „African Soundscapes, African Movies“). 50 years after the end of colonial rule AFRIKAMERA 2010 reflected upon and appreciated the roles of political and civil society actors in the liberation and democratisation process of Africa under the headline: „African Leaders – African Future – African Movies“. Last year our partner festivals, from Marrakech to Durban, from Ouagadougou to Nairobi, presented highlights from their own programs in cooperation with AFRIKAMERA, and made the spirit of their festivals tangible through discussions (AFRIKAMERA 2011: „African Filmfestivals – Beyond Present and Future“).
This year’s jubilee edition AFRIKAMERA 2012: „African Women on and behind the Screen“ present current projects featuring young, women filmmakers, producers and script writers.
All this would not be possible without friends and supporters – beside the Foreign Ministry and the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) it has been the Federal Agency for Civic Education, the Berlin Projects Funds for Cultural Education and the Church Development Service (EED) in the past.
Furthermore, our special thanks go to this year’s patrons and long time partners of AFRIKAMERA, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, Goethe Instiut, the Heinrich Böll Stiftung, Institut français, Evangelisches Zentrum für Entwicklungsbezogene Filmarbeit (EZEF), the embassies of Burkina Faso, Benin and Chad, our main sponsor TV 5 MONDE as well as the Hauptstadtkulturfonds.
But first and foremost our thanks go to you, our audience, who have proven that the interest for contemporary African movies is enormous. And that there exists a need to experience this diverse, contrasting, wonderful continent differently and again on the screen and through discussions in front of it.
Especially this assurance encourages us to carry on with the festival and – despite the annual fight for economical ressources – make every effort for African cinema art. To take this beyond the borders of the capital, to enhance the possibilities for presenting Africa’s diverse, exiting, controverse film culture, and intensify the contacts to like-minded film festivals in Germany, Europe and Africa are just some of our many plans for the future.
On this note – we look forward to five more years of AFRIKAMERA!
Yours, Alex Moussa Sawadogo, Koffi Kan Kra, Uta Rügner, Florian Wachinger
Toucouleur e.V. I Afrikamera – Contemporary African cinema.