African Titles at the Abu Dhabi Film Festival
- March 26, 2013‘Embrace’ takes on terrorism from a different perspective
- March 21, 2013Nairobi Half Life fights to live for a few more nights
- March 14, 2013Uru Eke stars in ‘Dark Side’
- See all film stories
Recent film Stories
The Abu Dhabi Film Festival (formerly the Middle East International Film Festival) was established in 2007, with the aim of helping to create a vibrant film culture throughout the region. The event, presented each October by the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage (ADACH) under the patronage of H.E. Sheikh Sultan Bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage, is committed to curating exceptional programs to engage and educate the local community, inspire filmmakers and nurture the growth of the regional film industry.
With its commitment to presenting works by Arab filmmakers in competition alongside those by major talents of world cinema, the Festival offers Abu Dhabi’s diverse and enthusiastic audiences a means of engaging with their own and others’ cultures through the art of cinema. At the same time, a strong focus on the bold new voices of Arab cinema connects with Abu Dhabi’s role as a burgeoning cultural capital in the region and marks the festival as a place for the world to discover and gauge the pulse of recent Arab filmmaking. This year’s Abu Dhabi Film Festival took place from October 11 – 20th.
The following are the African titles showing at this year’s festival:
Fishing without Nets (Kenya/USA)
A young Somali fisherman is lured by his best friend into the world of piracy when he cannot provide for his family.
Director Cutter Hodierne was born in the United States. He has directed shorts as well as touring with U2 and directing Tour Clips for U2 360° at the Rose Bowl. Fishing Without Nets was awarded the Grand Jury Prize in Short Filmmaking at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. Hodierne is currently working on developing his first feature film based on his short.
The Hidden Smile (Ethiopia/Spain)
This film tells the story of Daniel, a 10-year-old kid who arrives in Addis Ababa after escaping from his home and his misfortunes, only to end up living on the streets.
Ventura Durall is a screenwriter, director and producer of both narratives and documentaries. His film ‘The Two Lives of Andres Rabadan’ (2008) won top awards at the ECU Festival in Paris and the Annecy Spanish Cinema Biennal among other prizes. ‘The Forgiveness’ (2009) had similar international success.
A Hijacking (Somalia/Denmark)
It’s a quiet day at sea for the small crew of the Danish cargo ship MV Rozen. They’re a few days out from port in the Indian Ocean, and the ship’s affable cook Mikkel has just phoned home to tell his wife and daughter that it’s business as usual onboard. But two days later, in the shipping company’s sleek office back in Copenhagen, we learn that the vessel has been seized by a mercurial band of Somali pirates, and they’re demanding US $15 million in ransom. Forgoing the advice of a professional hostage negotiator, the company’s penny-pinching CEO decides to handle the life-and-death situation on his own, plunging everyone – the suits, the sailors, the pirates, the families – into a long-drawn-out battle of wills that seems bound to end in bloodshed.
Director Tobias Lindholm was born in Denmark and studied screenwriting at the National Film School there, graduating in 2007. ‘A Hijacking’ is his first solo film.
Meanwhile in Mamelodi (South Africa/Germany)
In South Africa’s Mamelodi, near Pretoria, the excitement about the 2010 FIFA World Cup has captivated the entire township. Yet, despite the geographical proximity and their passion, the impoverished people of Mamelodi have been reduced to watching the games on TV, stuck in a parallel existence where basic amenities such as paved roads, electricity or running water are absent.
‘Meanwhile in Mamelodi’ provides an intimate portrait of tuck-shop keeper, Stefaans Mtsweni, and his family during the World Cup. Stefaans works hard to make ends meet. He likens his life to a treadmill, where he must ‘keep on running up and down’. Because of his wife’s mental illness, he is the sole provider for his children, and balancing competing commitments to family and work leaves no time for rest.
Meanwhile, his teenaged daughter Moskito, a talented football player, is full of hope and energy, and dreams of a better future. “We’re the new generation,” she says, “and we are free to do all things.” As part of this new generation, she is well aware of the risks of unprotected sex and the importance of education, and she is keen not to repeat the mistakes of her family.