Film Africa 2011 announced

Permanent Plastic Helmet, already beside itself with anticipation about the forthcoming 55th BFI London Film Festival, has received some more very exciting festival news.

In its first appearance since its inaugural event in December 2008, Film Africa, the London African Film Festival will return, taking place from the 3rd – 13th November 2011 in venues including Hackney Picturehouse, Brixton Ritzy, RichMix and SOAS. The festival programme will showcase more than 50 of Africa’s best films and 15 UK premieres, as well as a wide-ranging selection of Q&As, panel discussions and live performances.

Film Africa will open with the multi-award winning film Microphone, featuring a special presentation by the Egyptian actor, director and human rights activist Khaled Abol Naga and a live performance by Dele Sosimi and Dudu Sarr.

Other guests in attendance will include filmmakers and actors Zina Saro-Wiwa, Sarah Maldoror, Ariane Astrid Atodji, Dorylia Calmel, Sara Blecher and Kamauwa Ndung’u, all of whom will be present to talk to audiences during the festival.

As well as an exciting programme of African experimental film (which itself includes five premieres), there will be a special focus on Africa’s foremost women filmmakers. Sarah Maldoror – the first woman to make a feature film in Africa – will be in attendance to present her film Sambizanga and do a Q&A with audiences.

Other programme highlights include the inauguration of The Distribution Forum, featuring panellists who are committed to improving the distribution and exhibition of African film in the UK (Sunday 6 November, SOAS, free and open to the public); and The Silver Baobab Award for Best Short African Film, with EcoBank sponsoring a prize of £2000 for the winning film, to be presented by filmmaker Sarah Maldoror.

If that wasn’t already enough, there will also be live entertainment throughout the festival, with 9 nights of sounds from a host of London’s most exciting African-inspired musicians and DJs, including Grupo Lokito, the Krar Collective, Mashasha&Sam, Namvula Rennie, Bumi Thomas and DJs Rita Ray, Africathy, Volta 45 and Suga Kan’n.

In summing up the importance of the event, Film Africa Co-Director and Senior Lecturer in African Film at SOAS, Dr Lindiwe Dovey, says: ‘There has never been greater interest in African film, and Film Africa aims to celebrate and participate in this movement. A half-century after Africans started making their own films, supplanting the patronising iconographies evident in colonial cinema set in Africa, African Cinema is finally being recognised across the globe.

It looks essential, and PPH can’t wait!

Visit the Film Africa website for more information.

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