Durban International Film Festival 2017: The Paulin Vieyra African Critic Award Promoting and Defending African Cinemas
The African Critic Award was initiated by the African Federation of Cinema Critics (www.africine.org) in 2009. Instituted at major African Film festivals (Fespaco, Carthage, Luxor, Marrakech and Zagora), the African Critic Award since 2013 bears the name of renowned film critic and pioneer of African Cinema Paulin Soumanou Vieyra, mentor of Sembène Ousmane. The award will be introduced into the programme of 2017 Durban International Film Festival for the first time.
The African Critic Award - Paulin Soumanou is awarded to an outstanding African film which combines narrative and technique aesthetics to tell a story related to Africa in a universal language.
The criteria are the artistic quality of the film, the originality in the aesthetic approach, the good command of cinematographic language, the originality and in-depth approach of the story.
The award which consists of a trophy and a certificate will also become a learning tool and serve as case-study for film criticism workshops in Africa and Diaspora.
The jury Members are Espera G. DONOUVOSSI (Benin), Essam Zakarea (Egypt) and Mwenda Micheni (Kenya).
Espera G. DONOUVOSSI (Benin) is graduated in Science of Language and Communication from the University of Abomey-Calavi in Benin, Espera went to South Africa in 2008 to study English Applied Communication. Former editor of Art and Culture within at the daily newspaper Evènement du Jour in Cotonou, Benin, Espera specializes himself on African cinema. In 2010, he was selected as part of the Young Film Critics Programme of International Film Festival Rotterdam. The same year he was part of the Berlinale Talent Press and become a founding member of the www.talentpress.org platform. In 2013, he has been identified as a mentor for the Durban Talent Press programme.
Founding member of Benin Association of Cine-Club and Benin Association of Film Critics, he has been elected General Secretary for the African Federation of Film Critics (AFFC / FACC) which owns the largest database on African cinema (www.africine.org). He also holds a Master's degree in International Relations and works as arts administrator and project manager. He worked for Arterial Network in South African and Goethe Institut in Lagos on the Mokolo Project (www.mokolo.net).
Essam ZAKAREA (Egypt) is a Cairo-born journalist, film critic and researcher, graduated from the Faculty of Languages, he wrote hundreds of articles about films for several Arabic publications. Zakarea was the author of ten books about Egyptian and foreign cinemas, such as Atyaf Al hadatha, Youssef Chahine saneaa al maraia and Al cinema walraees. He also translated from English and German tens of articles, and many novels and books about cinema, masterpieces of world literature such as Silence of the Lambs for Thomas Harris.
He was jury member in several local and international film festival and participated in many cultural seminars, research circles, film programs. Now he is the president of Ismailia international Film festival for Documentary and Shorts.
Among the positions he had held: Editor-in-chief of Nazra Magazine dedicated to independent cinema, instructor at the film department of the AUC (American University in Cairo), supervisor for Jesuit Film School in Alexandria and lecturer on film at SEMAT Film School and Emad Eddin Studio Film Workshop.
Mwenda wa MICHENI is a well-known Kenyan arts journalist and editor, who gained immense experience working for his country's leading media outlets, The Nation Media Group and The Standard Media Group. His last assignment at the Nation Media Group involved editing and publishing cultural content on Africa Review, a vibrant Pan African platform.
A holder of a Bachelor's Degree in Education from the University of Nairobi (Literature Major) and a Master's degree in International Relations (USU-Africa), Mwenda has covered several arts events across Africa, besides attending several film criticism workshops and participating in film juries. Currently, he is the Executive editor of County Review and Nyanza Today, two community newspapers in Kenya and a contributor to several media platforms across the continent.
Talent Press is presented in cooperation with Fipresci, an association of national organizations of professional film critics and film journalists from around the world which lobbies for the promotion and development of film culture. The programme invites four critics to cover DIFF films and events for online and print publication. Among those critics, two of them are already members of the African Federation of Film Critics (Dakar): Djia Mambu Nlandu (Democratic Republic of Congo) and Domoina Marina Ratsarahaingotiana (Madagascar).
The Durban Talent Press takes place, during the 38th edition of the Durban International Film Festival (DIFF), 13-23 July 2017, in Durban.
The programme is held along with Talents Durban, a five-day development programme presented in cooperation with Berlinale Talents, made up of workshops and seminars for African filmmakers, delivered by film industry professionals and academics.
The 38th edition of the festival is organized by the University of KwaZulu-Natal's Centre for Creative Arts in partnerships with the Durban Film Office, eThekwini Municipality, National Film and Video Foundation, KwaZulu-Natal Film Commission and other valued funders and partners.
With screenings of cutting-edge cinema from around the world, with special focus on both South African and African films, the festival exhibits films in a range of diverse venues in and around the city of Durban. DIFF is a premiere platform for the launch of African films and a key gateway to the African film industry. The festival also includes an annual local and international awards component.
DIFF screens features, shorts and documentaries that chronicle stories from various corners of the globe.
The Opening Night film is Serpent, directed and written by Amanda Evans, produced by Greig Buckle, Anant Singh and Amanda Evans, starring Tom Ainsley, Sarah Dumont, Skye Russell. It's the African Premiere of a romantic escape to nature turning into the ultimate moment of reckoning when a husband and wife are trapped in a tent with a deadly snake.
World Premiered in Durban, Asinamali, by South African director Mbongeni NGEMA, produced by Mbongeni NGEMA, Darrell Roodt, Christianne Bennetto, will be the Closing Night film. The all South African cast perform a 60% Zulu language script. Director, Dr Mbongeni Ngema, occupies a unique space in theatre history as an auteur of celebrated stage play musicals and he now brings that talent to his first film, based on his seminal work of the same name.
Comrade Washington (Mbongeni Ngema), enters the troubled Durban Central Prison to work with convicts in creating a musical play. Interwoven stories emerge all the way from the Lamontville rent strikes of 1983, with the forces of resistance being represented BY the singer, Soweto (Danica de la Rey). The inmates tell their stories, claim their history, and dance back their identity.
The 2017 Features in Competition comprise The Wound (Les Initiés), by John Trengove (South Africa, Germany, Netherlands and France), Basta, by Hassane Dahani (Morocco), Light in the Dark by Kaoula Assebab (Morocco), La Soledad, by Jorge Thielen Armand (Canada), Beauty and the Dog (La Belle et la meute), by Kaouther Ben Hania (Tunisia, France, Sweden, Norway, Lebanon, Qatar and Switzerland), Caretaker, by Alejandro Andújar (Dominican Republic, Brazil and Puerto Rico), Asinamali, by Mbongeni Ngema (South Africa), Serpent, by Amanda Evans (South Africa), Liyana, by Aaron kopp and Amanda kopp (Swaziland, united States, Qatar) 2017 and among the Documentaries in Competition Mama Colonel, by Dieudo Hamadi (France and Congo - Kinshasa), Skulls of my People, by Vincent Moloi (South Africa).