5 SHORT FILMS: DARE TO DREAM
WEDNESDAY 26TH OCTOBER 6:30PM
Q+A with Eimi Imanishi (Director of Battalion to my Beat), Jill Samuels (Founder of Films Without Borders), Estrella Sendra and Theodore Menelik (both CAFF Advisory Board).
38-39 St Andrew's Street
Cambridge CB2 3AR
Exhibiting the sheer diversity of films being made across the continent, these five short films from Nigeria, Kenya, Egypt, Ethiopia and the Western Sahara represent a range of countries and genres, unified by the common theme of identity and seeking fulfillment and destiny. Together, the films tell of the challenges, difficulties and passions experienced by the youngest generations of Africa. United by the theme of destiny, these shorts contemplate surroundings, history, and experiences and expectations.
For the first time, CAFF will be allocating one of these five films with the new 'BEST SHORT FILM AWARD' which will be announced after the films are screened.
Director: Oluyomi Ososanya
Running time: 5 mins
The Shoe Maker Pages
Director: Girum Ermyas
Running time: 9 mins
Language: Amharic, with English subtitles
Tales from the Slums
Director: Kelvin Kimanthi
Running time: 20 mins
Battalion to my Beat
Director: Eimi Imanishi
Running time: 15 mins
Language: Arabic, with English subtitles
Director: Mohamad Hisham
Running time: 30 mins
Language: Nubian with English subtitles
review by eva namusoke
A collection of short films covering five countries give a sense of the vast diversity and innovation of contemporary African filmmaking. In all the films there are questions about what individuals will do to try improve their lives and those of the people around them. The voice of young people in particular is a common thread throughout the films, with teenagers from across the continent working against the odds to pursue ambitious dreams.
Honey (2016), written and directed by Nigeria’s Olu Yomi Ososanya is a glimpse into the lives of a woman and her daughter. In a brief 5 minutes, an entire, wordless story is told about the uncomfortable choices women make.
Tales from the Slums (2015) follows a group of teenagers as they document life in the Nairobi slums of Mathare and Kibera, with the teenagers taking centre stage both in front of and behind the camera. In addition to the teenagers, the documentary features Octopizzo, a successful hip hop artist who grew up in Kibera and is a hero for the young people who live there. One key theme that runs throughout the teenagers’ stories is that of the daily hustle – the many ways these young people try and survive in their incredibly difficult circumstances. Tales from the Slums challenges one-dimensional images of these spaces, with the interviewees emphasising the close-knit communities and relationships that define their lives and set them apart from the affluent leafy suburbs only a stone’s throw away.
Jareedy (2015), directed by Egypt’s Mohamed Hisham and written by Gamal Salah, is the first movie in the Nubian language. Jareedy tells the story of a boy – Konnaf – with a singular vision. Konnaf spends his time daydreaming and is isolated from other children while he saves all his money. The audience follows Konnaf as he hears the myths and history of the Nubian people on the Nile – stories he has certainly heard countless times before. Along with the quiet charm of the young lead actor Mohammed Saleh, the other star of Jareedy is the scenery. Picturesque landscapes, whitewashed houses and the glistening waters of the Nile add a dreamlike quality to this lovingly made short film.
The Shoe Maker Pages (2016), written and directed by Girum Ermyas is a beautiful, heart-breaking look into the life of a cobbler in Ethiopia. As the shoemaker reflects on the stories he has heard from his customers, the viewer peaks into the lives of these different people in his community. Tsegaye Abegaz’s expressive face conveys a lifetime worth of experiences that adds real depth to this poignant film.
Battalion To My Beat (2016), written and directed by Eimi Imanishi, is set in Western Saharan refugee camps in Tindouf, Algeria. The lead, Marium, is a headstrong girl who eschews the gendered expectations placed on her. Cast out by the girls her own age who she shares little in common with, and shunned by boys who believe she shouldn’t be involved in men’s activities, Marium sets out to join the army. Battalion To My Beat offers a slice of life in a refugee camp where despite the sparse resources, a girl child fiercely follows her dream.
Taken together these shorts form a collage of experiences spanning from Nigeria to Kenya. In each of them we see lives lived in communities where resourcefulness and creativity flourish in sometimes difficult circumstances. We see young people and old searching for something better, whether it’s financial security, peace of mind, or freedom. If one were looking for a lesson to learn from these shorts, it would be a simple one – never give up.