African New Round Up Featuring - Kenya, Senegal, Nigeria and Algeria.

Kenyan Sci-Fi - Watch Muchiri Njenga's Experimental Short Film 'Kichwateli' ('TV-head')
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"Kichwateli" (Swahili for TV-head) is a short film by self-taught animation / film director Muchiri Njenga set in a post-apocalyptic African slum and city. This afro-sci film takes the viewer on a spiritual and metaphorical voyage through a young boy's dream mixing new imagery of a young boy wondering inquisitively with a live TV as his head to show the effects of media on a young generation.

Featuring music by Just A Band (Africa's super-nerdy electronic band), Modeselektor (Berlin's breakbeat duo) and Maasai Mbili (Nairobi-based Art group) this music-metary is a metaphor for the way we are now all plugged into the same images of global anxiety while at the same time being ourselves subjects of scrutiny of the all-seeing ubiquitous cameras.


Kichwateli from Studio Ang on Vimeo.

France/Senegal: Trailer and Soundtrack For 'Kirikou And The Men And Women' Now Available

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As announced a year or so ago, the pint-sized Senegalese hero Kirikou is returning for yet another animated adventure titled Kirikou et les hommes et les femmes (Kirikou And The Men And Women) - this, however, will be the first film in the franchise to be produced in stereoscopic 3D, a format French director Michel Ocelot used for the first time on Tales of the Night (2011).

This is the third installment of a trilogy which began with the universally-acclaimed Kirikou and the Sorceress (1998), and continued with Kirikou and the Wild Beasts (2005).

Kirikou et les hommes et les femmes is scheduled to reach France screens on February 13, 2013, and based on the brand new trailer below, should be yet another sumptuous piece of animation (in 3d this time) starring our brave little hero, using his wits and speed to thwart evil sorcery and save his village from supernatural and environmental perils... although the women are still rendered topless.

Co-written by the director with Bénédicte Galup, Susie Morgenstern and Cendrine Maubourguet, Kirikou et les hommes et les femmes ...:

... brings together five interconnected stories, all linked to the new adventures of Kirikou, the smallest and worthiest hero. Told by his noble grandfather, these stories will present Kirikou as someone who is a builder, a unifier of people, a storyteller, musician, and who will strive without failure, with cunning, bravery, generosity and success…

No word on whether and when the film will travel, and screen in countries other than France, but we'll keep you informed.

Oddly enough, the film's soundtrack was released on October 1, and not just in France. You can buy the entire album on iTunes right now.

The whimsical 12-track album includes a mix of music from French, Malian and Togolese artists like Thibault Agyeman, Janis Delétang, Kandia Kora, Jara Ezo, Mah Sissoko and Fanny Lavandier.

If interested, click HERE, which will open iTunes and take you right to the album's purchase page, where you can listen to samples.

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Image and video hosting by TinyPic


Trailer for new Uk-Nigerian Film - Amina, Starring Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde

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The film fits nicely under that category of diaspora cinema that sees cross-continental collaborations between Africans and people of African descent outside of Africa. The Nigerian/British co-production stars Nollywood megastars Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde and Van Vicker, as well as black British actors like Wil Johnson.

Told in flashback, Amina centers on the life of a gifted young woman (played by Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde) who, devastated by a series of life changing events suffers a total breakdown and finds herself incarcerated in a mental hospital. Only one person can help Amina, her doctor (Wil Johnson), but he must overcome his own demons before he can help Amina confront her past.

And like recent cross-continental films by other Nigerian filmmakers like Jeta Amata and Obi Emelonye, Amina is said to be the kind of movie that will help push Nigerian cinema forward, challenging outside perceptions of Nollywood cinema, and getting that cinema to a place where it can compete on the international marketplace of films.

Amina, is scheduled to open next week Wednesday, October 17th, at Empire Cinema in Leicester Square, London.

Africa At The Oscars: Best Foreign Language Film Submissions From The Continent - Algeria

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As was announced earlier this week by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, a record-setting 71 different countries submitted films for consideration to be nominees for next year's Best Foreign Language Film Oscar.

A number of those countries are from continental Africa; in fact, one of them is submitting a film for the very first time.

Of the record-setting 71 countries that submitted films for consideration, Algeria was one of them. And its choice was Said Ould-Khelifa's Zabana!

Starring Imad Benchenni, Nicolas Pignon, Khaled Benaïssa, Laurent Gernigon, and Abdelkader Djeriou, Zabana!, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival this year, is described as an impassioned, meticulously researched account of the short life of Algerian freedom fighter Ahmed Zabana, whose execution in 1956 by French colonial authorities ignited the crucial phase of Algeria's struggle for independence - a period that was thoroughly documented in Gillo Pontecorvo's 1966 masterpiece Battle of Algiers - a film that you might assume would have been an Algerian submission for Best Foreign Language Film, but wasn't - not for Algeria anyway. It was actually Italy's submission for consideration in 1966/1967. But that's a longer story for another poster.

By the way, Zabana!'s 2012 debut marks the 50th anniversary of Algeria's independence.

Azzedine Mihoubi (who penned the script) is said to have interviewed Zabana's relatives and close friends, and conducted extensive archival research in Algeria and France in writing the screenplay for a film praised for its documentary-style precision; it's a film that, unfortunately, we (here at S&A) have yet to see. Here's hoping for a USA release of some kind (or a screener from the producers) eventually.

As for Algeria's history of submissions to the Academy for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, the country has submitted films since 1969; although not with any regularity. Over that multi-decade period, just 5 Algerian films have been nominated in that category; they are:

- 1969, Costa Gavras' Z

- 1983, Ettore Scola's The Ball

- 1995, Rachid Bouchareb's Dust Of Life

- 2006, Rachid Bouchareb's Days Of Glory

- 2010, Rachid Bouchareb's Outside The Law (heartbreaking shit - OP)

And of those 5 instances, only Costa Gavras' political thriller Z won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film - the only one that Algeria can obviously claim.

Also worth noting, if you've seen the last 2 films on the list by Bouchareb (a filmmaker whose name and work we've highlighted here on S&A over the last few years) - Outside The Law and Days Of Glory - you'll notice that a common theme in both is the relationship between Algeria and its former colonial power, France. And we can add this year's submission, Zabana!, to that short list of 2 films (to make 3), as that theme trend continues.

it has yet to screen anywhere else since its TIFF premiere last month. A broader awareness of it, accompanied by good press, would certainly help. It's really lacking in those areas. Compared to France's submission this year, Intouchables, something of a global phenomenon of a film, Zabana! is practically invisible.

And as far we know, it's not scheduled to screen at any fall film festivals - especially stateside festivals. Granted, there are a tiny, precious few left to go that haven't announced their full lineups yet.

By the way, Bouchareb's Outside The Law and Dust Of Life are both available to stream on Netflix right now; while Z is available on DVD (no streaming); unfortunately Ettore Scola's The Ball isn't available in either format; but other titles are, as you'll find with a Netflix search.

Here's its trailer (not subtitled):

source 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6