Seven films about African creativity at Encounters

These films at the annual Encounters documentary festival probe compelling issues at play in Africa’s creative landscape.

The Encounters documentary film festival opens this week with a lineup that includes some compelling movies exploring creative struggles, triumphs, personalities and pioneers in Africa. The beauty of a festival like this is that it presents the opportunity to shine a light on so many stories that haven’t been told yet.

Here are seven films we’re looking forward to seeing:

Asni: Courage, Passion and Glamour in Ethiopia” by Rachel Samuel

Considered the Ethiopian Edith Piaf of her time, Asnaketch Worku pioneered the way for women in theatre and music during the 50s and 60s. Dripping in glamour and full of gumption, the performer is now a legendary cultural icon.

Beats of the Antonov” by Hajooj Kuka

Filmmaker and reporter Hajooj Kuka uncovers the harsh reality of life in war-torn Sudan. The film focusses on the sheer resilience of the locals, who despite the horrors of everyday life find solace in traditional music created with makeshift instruments.

The Dream of Shahrazad” by Francois Verster

The stories of individual characters are woven into a bold tale of resistance in this award-winning documentary by Capetonian Francois Verster, director of the Emmy award-winning “A Lion’s Tale”. Behind the narrative, the act of storytelling surfaces as a means to combat conflict in territories of the Arab spring.

“Ndi Vumeni: Faniswa” by Nomakhomazi Dyosopu

This film follows performing artist Faniswa Yisa and Khayelitsha dance group Moving Stories as they search for their places in our fractured society using the medium of public art.

“Jazz Heart” by Steve Kwena Mokwena

This film gives audiences insight into the fragile relationship between director Steve Kwena Mokwena and his jazz legend father, Andrew ‘Bra Pat’ Mokwena. For its world premiere, the film is already generating “festival favourite” buzz.

“Out on the Street” by Jasmina Metwaly and Philip Rizk

This film is an expression of everyday working-class struggles, as told by a Cairo theatre group who explore the impact of rampant capitalism and exploitation on Egyptian society.

In Search of our Own: The Forgotten Legacy of Norman Eaton” by Adriaan De La Rey and J.P. Kotzé

A retrospective exploring South African architect Norman Eaton and his portfolio of work acclaimed for its African quality and artful workmanship. The film honours Eaton’s memory as peers and critics discuss his architecture and what makes it so unique.

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