The Joburg Film Festival will be a run away success. If there are true film fundi’s in this country, I can’t see otherwise. They have virtually made it impossible for it be a failure. The festival will be taking place from the 28 October – 05 November 2016. I took a look at the list of films, there are up to 60 films being screened across all genre’s. It boast’s a heavy weight line up of African and International films with quite a few making their debut at the festival. Apart from the excellent line up, the Opening and Closing films are fantastic pullers, Mandela’s Gun with Tumisho Masha and Nate Parker’s The Birth Of A Nation. JFF has taken the saying ‘Go big or go home’ quite seriously.
I compiled ten films from various categories to give you an idea of how versatile, unique and amazing this festival is. 1. Black Girl – France/Senegal.
“When Women Progress, Society Progresses”. Words by a man who has been described as the Father of African Cinema. Ousmane Sembene’s Le Noire De/Black Girl 1966 film turns 50 this year. Mr. Sembene passed in 2007, his other works include Faat-Kine and Moolaadé which followed a group of woman in a rural village that organized the ending of the traditional practice of genital cutting.
2. Desierto – Mexico.
Written and Directed by Juanos Cuaron. What seems to be a journey of hope leading to a new life, a group of Mexican’s who intend on crossing the border illegally come across a reckless vigilante who takes the law into his own hands in this deadly chase across the desert terrain. I would watch any film that stars Gael Garcia Bernal after having seen Amores Perros, goes down as one of my favourite films of all time.
3. South Side With You – USA.
I am a romance fan, South Side With You chronicles the eventful first date of Barack and Michelle Obama on Chicago’s South Side in 1989. Tika Sumpter and Parker Saywers play the young Obama’s during their pursuit of excelling in their career’s and their eventual love.
4. King Of The Dance Hall – USA/Jamaica.
Nick Cannon’s feature film in which he stars and directs, follows a young man who is captivated by the electric vibe of Kingston culture in music and dance. Whoopi Goldberg and Busta Rhymes lend their creative gifts in this film as well. It was included in this year’s Toronto International Film Festival.
5. Mandela’s Gun – South Africa.
Tumisho Masha! The Opening film for the festival directed by John Irvin is based on Nelson Mandela’s military training as a Commander in Chief for the Mkhonto we Sizwe during his stay in Ethiopia and Algeria in the 1960’s.
6. Music Is Our Weapon – Kenya/Nigeria.
A Taye Balogun Documentary film, Music Is Our Weapon follows Kenyan band Sarabi which is Swahili for The Mirage. The band known as the voices of truth have been fearless in using their music to question and challenge social issues.
7. The Wedding Party – Nigeria.
More from across the continent is Nigerian film The Wedding Party by Kemi Adetiba, a TIFF 2016 selection. Banky W and Adesua Etomi star as a couple who have taken a vow of chastity. To get to the wedding reception however may prove challenging with drama from the in-laws, demanding guests and dealing with their own problems. Culturally authentic and entertaining.
8. VAYA – South Africa.
Nigerian filmmaker Akin Omotoso’s Vaya also a TIFF 2016 selection, interweaves the lives of three separate individuals whose gripping stories are portrayed in Soweto, Johannesburg.
9. Vers La Foret De Nuages – Ivory Coast.
A French Documentary film, Vers La Foret Nuages when translated means To The Forest Of Clouds. Director Robin Hunzinger documents the journey of his wife and their son as she takes him to her home in Côte d’Ivoire, Ivory Coast. Traveling from France to pay their last respects to her father who recently passed away.
10. The Birth Of A Nation – USA.
I first caught wind of the period drama film in January when it made history at The Sundance Film Festival by being the highest film bought for world wide rights by Fox Searchlight Pictures for $17.5 Million. It has since gone through a tumultuous journey but it has finally made it’s way here as the closing film of the festival.