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URBAN AFRICA, URBAN MOVIES puts urban Africa and its cinematic reflection in contemporary African cinema at the center of a four-year program. The 2021 edition will focus on productions that explore modern youth and pop culture in Africa’s cities.

GRAVEDIGGER’S WIFE (Djibouti/Finland/G/F 2021, 15. & 17.11.) This year’s festival opens with a film by the Finnish-Somali director Khadar Ayderus Ahmed. Guled and Nasra live with their teenage son in the outskirts of Djibouti City. When Nasra needs an expensive operation to treat her chronic kidney disease, the family faces the challenge of finding the necessary funds without falling apart.

WALABOK (Senegal 2021, 16.11.) In cooperation with the Heinrich Böll Foundation, AFRIKAMERA presents a special program about hip hop culture in Senegal. The author and filmmaker Fatou Kandé Senghor has created a 30-part series that can currently be watched on the Senegalese platform WIDO. WALABOK is about the talented Mossane, who is trying to make a name for herself as a rapper despite the obstacles. After the screening of three episodes, there will be a discussion with the film director Fatou Kandé Senghor.

DOWNSTREAM TO KINSHASA (DR Congo/Belgium/F 2020, 18.11.) by Dieudo Hamadi depicts the fight for justice of the victims of the Six-Day War between Ugandan and Rwandan armies in the city of Kisangani in DR Congo. Twenty years later, a group of nine women and men set off on a weeks-long journey to Kinshasa, the capital of the DRC, to finally receive reparations. The screening will be followed by a debate with the director.

JUJU STORIES (Nigeria 2021, 18.11., guest: Executive Producer Francis Nebot) In a three-part anthology film, the Nigerian film collective Surreal 16 takes an ironic look at the supernatural powers of juju - transcending the usual witchdoctor clichés. The screening will be the film’s German premiere.

ZINDER (Niger/G/F 2021, 18.11.) is the second largest city in Niger and also the setting for this compelling documentary about its violent gang and youth culture. In her second feature film, director Aicha Macky, who was herself born in Zinder, accompanies Siniya, Bawo and Ramsess, members of the local “Hitler” gang as they go about their daily life in the area of Kara Kara.

The AFRICAN SHORTS – AFRICAN POP CULTURES (19.11.) program focuses on works that explore current trends in Africa. In ADIKORO – WOMEN IN MUSIC: GHANA (Ghana/Germany 2021), the German-Ghanaian director Pamela-Owusu Brenyah explores female empowerment in Ghanaian pop music. The screening will be followed by a podium debate between the director and the filmmaker Fatou Kandé Senghor. In cooperation with the Berlin Pop Culture Festival.

SOUAD (Egypt/Tunisia/G 2021, 19.11.) The 19-year-old medical student Souad leads a double life. While she wears a headscarf with her family and in social contexts and appears conservative, she creates a completely different image of herself on Facebook and Instagram. Gradually, reality intrudes into her invented world - and a series of small incidents leads to a tragic event. This drama by Egyptian director Ayten Amin is representative of the search for identity of millions of young people in a post-revolutionary Egypt caught between turmoil and Islamic conservatism.

BUDDHA IN AFRICA (South Africa/Sweden 2019, 20.11.) Ennock is one of 300 orphans from rural Malawi who have been placed in a Chinese orphanage. The children and teenagers have to speak Mandarin and maintain Buddhist traditions while they are trained to master the difficult art of Shaolin Kung Fu. In the wake of China's growing influence on the African continent, this documentary by South African director Nicole Schafer poses highly topical questions about the relationship between the perception of educational opportunities and the sacrifice of one's own identity.

THE LETTER (Kenya 2019, 20.11.) Nearly 100 years old, Margaret Kamango is a gentle, ironic woman - threatened by death. When her grandson Karisa, who lives in Mombasa, sees a Facebook post accusing his grandmother of witchcraft, he decides to return to his home village to get to the bottom of it. Without prejudice, directors Maia Lekow and Christopher King tackle the phenomenon of witchcraft in contemporary Kenya. The film is recommended for 14-year-olds and older.    

LA NUIT DES ROIS (Night of the Kings, Cote d’Ivoire/Senegal/F/Canada 2020, 20.11.) La Maca, a prison located on the outskirts of Abidjan in the middle of the forest, is one of the most overcrowded in West Africa. One of the inmates, the aging and ailing Blackbeard, is the boss, or ‘dangoro’ and he is increasingly controversial. To maintain his power, he resumes the tradition of the "novel", a ritual that consists in forcing a prisoner to tell stories throughout the night. Philippe Lacôte's visually stunning epic oscillates between griot legend and fantasy tale in a fascinating way.

CAIRO JAZZMAN (Egypt/G 2017, 20.11., guest: Atef Ben Bouzid) At the center of Atef Ben Bouzid's documentary is the charismatic Egyptian pianist Amr Salah, who with few resources but all the more dedication, has been organizing the Cairo Jazz Festival since 2009. The film, set to funky jazz sounds, provides a rare insight into the festival behind the scenes and offers an unusual perspective of the megacity of Cairo and a younger generation that longs for cultural and political change.

THE DISQUALIFIED (Tunisia/Qatar/F 2020, 21.11., guest: Hamza Ouni) In his long-term documentary, which he made over a period of 12 years, Tunisian director Hamza Ouni accompanies the eccentric Mehrez in his hometown of El Mohammedia. At the age of 25, Mehrez decides to use theater as a means to educate and challenge a community of unemployed, frustrated youths.

OLIVER BLACK (Morocco 2020, 21.11.) The feature film debut of Moroccan director Tawfik Baba tells the story of Vendredi, a young boy crossing the desert on his own. He hopes to realize his dream and work in a circus in Morocco. On the way, he meets an old man called "White Man". The two develop a special relationship. Vendredi has no idea that he has come across a human trafficker.

FREDA (Benin/Haiti/F 2021, 21.11.) The festival closes with a production from the African diaspora by Gessica Généus. Freda and her family live in a popular neighborhood of Port-au-Prince that is increasingly restive. She is worried about her education and the future of her decaying homeland. Her siblings and friends toy with the idea of leaving Haiti. But Freda wants to stay and fights at school against the progressive eradication of Haitian culture by white influences. This impressive family drama premiered at this year's Cannes Film Festival in the "Un certain regard" section. (fw)

Funded by:

  • Logo Minister of State for Culture and the Media