The event will take place on Friday 12 December at 6.30pm at the Emmanuel United Reformed Church, Cambridge. 

 FELIX FLYER_12thDecemberLast November the Cambridge African Film Festival celebrated its 13th edition, with a special focus on South African film, as part of the South Africa at 20 Tour. This season continues until April across the UK. The fist post-festival film will mark the End of Year Party of Menelik Education Centre, organizers of the CAFF Pre-closing Party.

Christmas tends to be a very film season, with a large number of releases to be seen in family. That is why we have selected the South African family film Felix (Roberta Durrant, 2013).

13-year-old Felix Xaba dreams of becoming a saxophonist like his late father, but his mother Lindiwe thinks jazz is the devil’s music. When Felix leaves his township friends to take up a scholarship at an elitist private school, he defies his mother and turns to two aging members of his father’s old band to help him prepare for the school jazz concert. Felix is a family-friendly film of a deeply moving story about perseverance in pursuing dreams and developing one’s talent.

Felix premiered earlier this year at the Durban International Film Festival, before making the rounds on the international film festival circuit.

You can watch the trailer by clicking on the image below or this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4XC2YXTxuhQ

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Party Programme

6:30pm – 8:15pm Screening of the film “Felix”

8:15pm African Buffet

8:30pm 1st act = Live band

9:00pm 2nd act = Iroko live band

Location: Emmanuel United Reformed Church, 72 Trumpington Street, Cambridge, CB2 1RR.

The screening is free but should you want to also stay for the party and buffet, there is a £10 charge (children do not pay).  You can pay on the door or online via eventbrite at:

http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/menelik-ubuntu-end-of-year-party-tickets-14603674985

If you are planning to come but intend to pay on the door, please drop us an email at: bookings@menelikpartnership.org

About the South Africa at 20 Freedom Tour

2014 marks the 20th anniversary of democracy and freedom in South Africa. To commemorate this landmark date, South Africa at 20: The Freedom Tour, a season of South African cinema, will take place from October 2014 to April 2015 at venues across the UK. The tour will host a total of 120 screenings throughout the season, across 40 different locations. The films are complemented by an extensive educational and outreach programme, including workshops and discussions, school and pop-up screenings. The tour will also support the Afrovibes season of live South African performance, taking place in venues across the UK from Oct to Nov 2014. The tour is supported by the British Film Institute, awarding funds from the national lottery, and the South African Season in the United Kingdom 2014 & 2015. The SA-UK Seasons is a partnership between the Department of Arts and Culture, South Africa, and the British Council.

About CAFF

CAFF is the longest running African film festival in the UK. CAFF is a completely voluntarily run festival which aims to show the best of contemporary African films, increase understanding and awareness of African and black culture in the UK, and offer an important counterbalance to the stereotyping of Africa.

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Launched in 2002, the Cambridge African Film Festival (CAFF) is the longest running festival of its kind in the UK, with the aim of bringing the best contemporary African films, increasing knowledge and awareness of African and black culture in the UK, providing a UK audience for African filmmakers, and offering an important counterbalance to the Western media’s stereotyping of Africa.

IMG_2649 This year the festival saw a new lease of life with the efforts of an enthusiastic team led by festival director Estrella Sendra. The film programme was made up of 12 feature-length films and 9 short films, including 3 UK premieres (Market Imaginary, Le Voyage d’une Vie & Die Welt) and 5 Cambridge premieres (Timbuktu, El Problema, Gone Too Far, Miners Shot Down and Hear Me Move). Engaging discussions followed all but one of the films at CAFF, giving the audience and filmmakers a chance to delve deeper into the subjects raised in each film, and we were lucky to welcome guest filmmakers, scholars and students from South Africa, Mali, Senegal, Tunisia, Cameroon and Nigeria. The festival kicked off with a sold-out screening of the beautiful and powerful Timbuktu, which won director Abderrahmane SissakoBest Director’ at the 50th Chicago International Film Festival this year. CAFF received great audience feedback for this screening, and for the accompanying short film Dankumba, the first UK tribute to young Malian filmmaker Bakary Diallo, who was killed in the crash of Air Algérie Flight 5017 last July.

The programme continued with a focus on political and social issues, with the hard-hitting documentaries El Problema, Roadmap to Apartheid, and 1994: The Bloody Miracle. Entertainment was also an important part of the festival programme, with a lively screening of the comedy Gone Too Far, and gangster action move Four Corners gripping audiences at the Arts Picturehouse, and both followed by director Q&As. Next, a special focus on migration brought audiences in Cambridge two free screenings – the France/Cameroon co-produced documentary Le Voyage d’une Vie and the feature film Die Welt, filmed in Tunisia by Dutch director Alex Pitstra.

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The programme themes of politics and migration were placed side by side on the penultimate day of the festival with the films Miners Shot Down and Princesa de Africa. Closing the festival was the first street dance musical from Africa – Hear Me Move, introduced by CAFF founding director Lindiwe Dovey, and discussed with director Scotnes Smith and choreographer Paul Modjadjiafter the screening. Their optimism and entrepreneurial spirit accompanying this entertaining film brought a distinctly celebratory and energetic end to the diverse and carefully curated programme of some of the most relevant, innovative and engaging films from the continent.    

Parallel Events

Accompanying the screenings was a programme of parallel events including:

The ‘Más Morena’ photo exhibition and photography seminar with Spanish guest Javier Hirschfeld at the Fitzwilliam Museum, marking his first exhibition in the UK

South African Popular Songs Workshop with Lyric SopranoJoyce Moholoagae

‘Visions to be Heard’ Short Film Screenings and Panel Discussion at The Humanitarian Centre

Live Music Performances at the Pre-Closing Party with Les Frères Chapalo, Nouria Bah and Anna de Mutiis

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Audiences and Impact

The 13th edition of CAFF saw an increase in audience numbers, attracted an average of 45 people at each screening, as well as a sold-out opening night. The feedback was overwhelmingly positive, and comments from social media and the feedback forms demonstrate an enthusiasm for African film and the importance of the festival for our audience – see some examples below:

 ‘Hearing about the long process of South Africans realising their own worth, post-apartheid, was fascinating’

‘The directors were honest and engaging’

‘Impressed by quality and scope’…’ So many interesting films and topics’

‘I discovered similarities between lives of people in different countries’…’we are all so alike and human’

‘Stunning film. Fascinating cross-cultural debate’

Partnership

This year CAFF has joined forces with other UK African film festivals to put together, for the first time ever, a touring season called ‘South Africa at 20: The Freedom Tour’, marking the 20th anniversary of democracy in the country, with the support of the BFI, awarding funds from the National Lottery, and the SA-UK Seasons, which is a partnership between the Department of Arts and Culture, South Africa, and the British Council. The partnership was exciting and beneficial for CAFF, and brought 5 South African titles to the festival as well as 3 film directors.

The well-organised screenings and events could not have happened without the invaluable support of wonderful group of local volunteers from age 16 upwards, who dedicated their time to making the nine days of screenings and events a success.

The University also played a significant part, who the support of the African Society of Cambridge University and the East Africa Society of Cambridge University, as well as scholars and lecturers who enriched the director Q&As and panel discussions by bringing to bear their knowledge and research interests. Further support of local partners The Humanitarian Centre and Menelik Education made possible the ‘Visions to be Heard’ seminar and the CAFF pre-closing party respectively. CAFF is very grateful to all the festival sponsors and supports, particularly the Advisory Board members, Tony Jones and the Cambridge Film Trust, and Lindiwe Dovey. Next year, the 14th edition of CAFF aims to build on the success of 2014, and to continue celebrate the diversity and richness of African cinema for audiences in Cambridge.

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Yesterday’s focus on migration with the screening of Le voyage d’une vie and Die Welt generated some interesting discussions amongst filmmakers and panelists – what are the stories we tell ourselves about our destination? How does the fantasy compare with lived reality? And how do the global imbalances of power affect a migrant’s experience?

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L-R: Njoki Wamain, Ferdinand Fokou, Keven Arcel Fabo Tchuinkeu, Ellen Davis-Walker, Ferdinand Foukou & Franca Hoffman.

We were lucky to have many of the audience making the journey with us between Trinity and Christ’s college to see the next film Die Welt, a film about one young man’s experience in Tunisia, and the experience that drives him to look for something different. With a well-crafted script, good characterisation, and beautiful cinematography, this engaging film had the audience buzzing with questions during the post-screening Q&A with director Alex Pitstra, producer Rosan Breman, and chair Dr Jean Khalfa (pictured below).

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And as Saturday comes to a close, we start to realise that the festival is nearly over for this year…but not before some of the biggest highlights of the week!

Today a screening of Miners Shot Down, directed by Rehad Desai and produced in 2014, will bring to the fore the issues of resource extraction, labour rights, and what has been described as the ‘toxic collusion between state and capital’ in South Afirca. Miners Shot Down is the only documentary that has managed to gather the footage of the massacre of mineworkers in Marikana, killed by the police while striking at the British-owned Lonmin Platinum mine for higher wages in August 2012. We welcome Cambridge PhD candidate Alice Meyer and sociologist Theodore Menelik-Mfuni for a post-screening Q&A, as part of ‘South Africa at 20: The Freedom Tour’.

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This evening we invite you all to join us for the CAFF pre-closing party  at Emmanuel United Reformed Church. Come along for a screening of the Senegalese-Spanish documentary Princesa de África, African buffet, market, live music and DJs! Find out more here.

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Tomorrow, the final day of the festival, is a very special one. We welcome the lyric soprano Joyce Moholoagae who will be hosting a workshop on South African Popular Song from 1.30-3.30 at the Faculty of Education in Homerton College. Join us for what is certain to be an enlivening and joyful session, and the £5 entrance fee will guarantee participants entry to the festival’s closing film Hear Me Move, South Africa’s first full-blown street dance musical at the Arts Picture House. The film will be followed by a Q&A with the film director Scottnes Smith and film choreographer Paul Modjajdi, and will feature a live performance of one of songs rehearsed at the workshop, lead by Joyce Moholoagae herself and featuring audience members. Find out more and book here!