Our theme for this year - inspired by the title of our opening night film - is "the unseen".
It might sound like a paradox to draw together, in one breath, a visual medium like film and the idea of what is not seen but it is on this paradox that we want to dwell. After a year in which we have witnessed a resurgence in violent racism across the world and an increasing unease with the status quo - with hate crimes rising sharply in the UK and Europe, with African universities struggling to decolonise their institutional foundations, with black men being murdered by policemen, with people once again having to take to the streets to remind the world that “Black Lives Matter” - we have focused our programme around films that reflect on continuing violence justified through the visual order.
The African films we highlight in our 2016 festival, our 15th anniversary year, problematize any easy coupling of visibility and empowerment. They attempt to draw from the secret, often silent wellspring of the unseen, the invisible, conjuring the dream of a world in which seeing (too often taken to be a neutral act) would be free of prejudice.