36th Edition of the Vues d’Afrique International Film Festival Reveals its Program

A must-see for African and Creole cinema in North America, the 2020 edition of Vues d’Afrique aims to be innovative, modern and rich in discoveries. To adapt to what is going on today, the festival’s management has strengthened the entire digital section and has put in place adequate resources to enable it to respond to the current situation. As a result, faced with constraints related to government recommendations and the impossibility of presenting its films in cinemas, Vues d’Afrique has adapted and has been able to find a partner to be able to screen the selected works. Indeed, TV5 has offered its partnership with Vues D’Afrique so that festival-goers can see the films for free from its www.tv5unis.ca platform. The films will be available for a period of 48 hours according to a schedule that will be unveiled shortly.

More than 1,600 films were initially submitted, proof of the vitality of Vues d’Afrique. It is a brand new team that presided over the selection of films. Of the 64 titles originally selected, 37 were able to join the digital experience, 23 works of fiction or animation and 14 documentaries representing 27 different countries. With that Vues d’Afrique enhances the user experience with innovative and accessible content for every moviegoer.

The feature-length fiction films presented address themes and societal issues that have made their mark on the countries concerned.

From Burkina Faso Duga, les Charognards byAbdoulaye Dao and Erik Lengani. It tells the story of Rasmané, an old goldsmith, who finds himself with a corpse on his hands: his cousin Pierre has just died but in the village, no one wants to take care of the funeral of a non-believer! 

Kamissa by Guy Kalou (Ivory Coast) portrays a 15-year-old girl who becomes pregnant in a very intolerant social context.

Moroccan filmmaker Alaa Eddine Aljem’s first feature film, Le miracle du Saint Inconnu is a comedy that was noticed during its screening at Cannes Critics’ Week 2019.

Based on the famous novel by Scholastique Mukasonga (who won the Renaudot Prize for his novel of the same name) the film Notre-Dame du Nil was directed by the Afghan-born filmmaker Atiq Rahimi, who won a Goncourt Prize. Awarded the Crystal Bear award for best film in the Generation 14 section of the Berlin Film Festival, Notre-Dame du Nile was successfully released in France on February 5, 2020.

With several prestigious awards including two Léopards d’Or from Locarno, Mamadou Dia’s Le Père de Nafi (Senegal) features two brothers in a small town as the threat of religious extremism looms. 

Un divan à Tunis by Manele Labadi, is a comedy of rare finesse that revolves around a psychoanalyst who has just arrived back in her native country to work in an unconventional profession. The film was a tremendous success upon its release in France.

The short fiction films offer a very diverse viewpoint as they are works of various styles: 28 jours by Jahêna Louisin (Togo), Agapapuro by Poupoune Sesonga (Rwanda),  Au pays de l’oncle Salem by Slim Belhiba (Tunisia), Divines 419 by Johannes Krug (Ghana), Famille by Catherine Cosme (France), Habib (Egypt) by Shady Fouad, Je vais tout raconter Mohamed Benabdallah (Algeria), Foued Mansour’s Le chant d’Ahmed (France), Nos voisins by Delphine Kabore (Burkina Faso), Pour un rien by Sekou Oumar Sidibe (Burkina Faso) Rebe by Serge Girishya (Rwanda), Suru by Kismath Baguiri (Benin), Tabaski (Senegal) by Laurence Attali, Village apaisé by Issouf Bah (Mali). 

Vues d’Afrique has always acknowleged the importance of documentary films. They are depictions of the world that make known with a singular acuity the multiple facets of reality that they paint.

Aux frontières du texte by Arnold Antonin (Haiti) is about the great poet Anthony Phelps.

Cilaos by Claire Perdrix, born in Madagascar, puts her camera in the middle of Réunion à Cilaos where, generation after generation, men and women have struggled to work on an unyeilding and difficult-to-reach land. For a long time, they had no choice. Today, they could leave or do something else, but they repeat the same agricultural gestures as their forefathers, adopt the same painful postures under less and less controllable climatic conditions.  So why stay in Cilaos? 

Congo Lucha is the 5th documentary by Marlene Rabaud (Qui a tué Laurent-Désiré Kabila? ), a multi-award-winner at the Film Festival part of the International Forum on Human Rights in Geneva and the Grand Reportage d’Actualité et du Documentaire de Société  (Saint-Omer, France). Winner of the Prix Albert Londres de l’audiovisuel (Paris), Congo Lucha follows the peaceful struggle of young people who are campaigning for the defeat of President Kabila.

ls n’ont pas choisi by Youlouka Damiba and Gideon Vink (BurkinaFaso) deals with a delicate subject on the African continent: homosexuality. Is it an abomination, a sin, a practice imported from the West or something natural? From Yaounde to Douala, via Abidjan and Dakar, this investigative documentary directed by two filmmakers from Burkina Faso lays the foundations for a fundamental issue in African societies.

Kafe Negro, une histoire de migrations by Mario Delatour (Haiti) essentially tells of the waves of migration of Haitian workers to Cuba that have, over time, profoundly transformed the culture and demographics of the island and allowed the development of coffee farms in Cuba.  Above all, this documentary has chosen to show the hands of workers rather than faces, productions, yields. It is set up as an ode to manual labor.

30 years ago, filmmaker Philippe de Pierpont met six street children in Burundi and promised to film them at every pivotal stage of their lives. Today, he finds them for the fourth time: they are forty years old and are only three. That’s the plot of his film La prochaine fois que je viendrai au monde.

Mahmoud Jemni tackles for the first time in Tunisia the burning and current theme of racism with Non, Oui.

In Pour quelques bananes de plus, Bernard Crutzen conducts an in-depth investigation into the adverse health consequences of chlordecon which is used in Caribbean banana plantations.

Tilo Koto, sous le soleil (France) by Sophie Bachelier and Valérie Malek, is the story of a man traumatized by the hell of emigration that he will sublimate it by painting.

Silent Forest by Mariah (USA, Cameroon, Congo) is an intimate portrait of environmentalists struggling to stop the poaching of forest elephants and ivory trafficking in the Congo Basin in Africa.

The short films, Famara by Yoro Mbaye, Senegal, Inkerson by Derhwa Kasunzu from the DRC,  Il faut créerby Natacha Diafferi Dombre (Haiti) and La Inna Gobir by Ado Abdou (Nigeria) complete this documentary panorama. 

Animated films are also on the programme with Bintou mariage précoce, by Mamahadou Kheraba Traore (Senegal), Boris Kpadenou’s Fidélité à tout prix (Togo), Frank Mukunday and Treasure Tshibangu’s (DRC) Machini and Dawuud dit Kamun Cérito’s (Guadeloupe) Speak brother speak

The “Regards d’ici ” section is an important part of the festival’s programming, which features creations by Canadian filmmakers whose inspirations come from African countries. This selection presents films about African and Creole countries and deal with the reality of these populations. These are often co-productions that foster very fruitful cultural exchanges.

Myopia by Sana Akroud (Canada-Morocco) tells the story of Fatem, who is in her sixt month of pregnancy and forced to leave her village located in the mountains, to look for glasses for the eldest of her village because she is the only person who can decipher the letters sent by their family members who have gone to work in the cities.

Pour ne plus mourir by Simon Plante (Canada-Benin). The death of Media’s oldest brother Gayet, a young Benin entrepreneur, greatly affected his family. Alongside the very sensitive portrait of this bereaved African family, he explores the different facets of the rich African spirituality of the cradle of Voodoo, Benin.

Qu’ils partent tous by Sara Nacer (Canada-France-Algeria). February 22, 2019 marks the beginning of an historic movement in Algeria, first against President Bouteflika’s candidacy for a fifth term, then for the departure of all former dignitaries of the regime, and the restablishment of a republic. Algerian-Canadian filmmaker Sara Nacer returns to Algeria to capture this “Hirak” (Arabic movement) through her camera. She invites us on her journey to discover how the young generation is leading this “smile revolution” with a strong political, cultural and social conscience, thus building Algeria 2.0.

Short films are also part of this section with Catherine Veilleux’s Badera (Canada-Guinea), Eponek by Kris Burton and Samuel Matteau (Canada-Martinique), Le Dilemme de Ma’ by Alexa Carrénard (Canada-Haiti), Migration by Olivia Perillo and Syd Horn (Canada-Louisiana), Playeros: travailleurs des plages by Alexandre Beaumont-Vachon (Canada-Dominican Republic-Haiti), Sa Ka Vinn Lanwit by Mark Sylver Junsunn Lo (Canada-Louisiana) and Un parcours de lutte et de libertéby Marie-Denise Douyon and Radu Jaster (Canada).

In these difficult times, it is important to be creative, united and supportive. That’s why les Matinées ciné-jeunesse will also be offered as part of the Vues d’Afrique International Film Festival in its new digital format from April 17 to 26 for a broadcast on TV5unis.ca.

Young people will be able to watch one or more animated short films, dramas and documentaries selected according to specific themes. They will also have access to workshops and performances that will be posted on our website vuesdafrique.org by clicking on Baobar Virtual.

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