Inspired by the growing influence of China in some African countries, the International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) asks seven filmmakers from South Africa, Cameroon, Uganda, Rwanda, Congo and Angola to make films in China. The African directors' films will premiere, along with a contextual film program, during the Rotterdam's 40th edition. The program, titled ‘Raiding Africa', includes a film workshop produced by the IFFR in collaboration with the Li Xianting Film School in Beijing and supported by Rotterdam's Hubert Bals Fund.
In 2009 the IFFR undertook an extensive research trip to countries in Eastern and Central Africa. The result was the IFFR 2010 ‘Forget Africa' program consisting of the African films found during the research and of thirteen commissioned films by international filmmakers presenting their first view on Africa. The IFFR did meet many young and talented directors who had learnt film making in small initiatives or collectives. The reasons that they haven't been picked up internationally were various, but most of them practical; no subtitling, no funding, no international network. The films the IFFR showed from these young filmmakers are now being picked up internationally.
The ‘Raiding Africa' program aims to stimulate the exchange of cultures, to support the careers of the African directors included in last year's ‘Forget Africa', to create a situation in which the Africans are informed about Asian independent low budget filmmaking and to allow them to work internationally. The filmmakers taking part are:
- Omelga Mthiyane, South-Africa (Thank You Mama)
- Emile-Aime Chah Yibain ‘Ancestor', Cameroon (The Way to the Cross)
- Ssenkaaba Samson 'Xenson', Uganda (Creation Lab)
- Caroline Kamya, Uganda
- Yves Montand Niyongabo, Rwanda (Maibobo)
- Amour Sauveur, Congo-Brazzaville (Coupable)
- Henrique Narciso ‘Dito', Angola (A guerra do Ku-Duro)
For ‘Raiding Africa', the IFFR and Li Xianting Film School in Beijing organize a film workshop this summer in Beijing. During the workshop the seven young African filmmakers are teamed up with experienced Asian Chinese-speaking filmmakers. The mentors taking part are Chinese filmmakers Ying Liang (Taking Father Home) and Sheng Zhimin (Night of an Era), Beijing Film Academy teacher Zhang Xianmin, Tiger Award winning Thai filmmaker Anocha Suwichakornpong (Mundane History), Singaporean filmmaker Sherman Ong (Flooding in the Time of Drought) and China-based Dutch filmmaker David Verbeek (RU There).
Rotterdam programmer Gertjan Zuilhof, who curated ‘Forget Africa' and is now working on ‘Raiding Africa' together with assistant-programmer Inge de Leeuw states: "One of the big issues of our time is the domination of the Chinese in some African countries and their absence in daily life. So the idea is to ask African filmmakers to make a movie in China and to get to know more about the people that live behind gates in their continent. This new project turns ‘Forget Africa' around and gives the filmmakers involved the chance to take a close look at the Chinese as well as to get experience in international low budget digital filmmaking." The upcoming months, Zuilhof will file regular updates on ‘Raiding Africa' on his blog on the IFFR website.
Rotterdam's Hubert Bals Fund is contributing financially to ‘Raiding Africa'. The project fits its current focus on African cinema. Given the limited possibilities for professional film training in many African countries, the Fund regards ‘Raiding Africa' as a valuable opportunity and experience for this group of talented young African filmmakers.
Developed and produced by:
International Film Festival Rotterdam
Li Xianting Film School, Beijing
Hubert Bals Fund, Netherlands
Göteborg Film Fund, Norway
Festival Cinema Africano, Asia e America Latina, Italy
Durban International Film Festival, South Africa