Filmmaker Shannon Walsh teamed up with director and writer Arya Laloo to make Jeppe on a Friday, “a neighborhood documentary.” The setting is Jeppestown in Johannesburg, South Africa, chronicling a day in the lives of eight residents of this area on the brink of massive change. The featured residents are Beninese entrepreneurs Arouna and Zainab; Ravi, a second-generation Indian shop owner; Vusi, a garbage reclaimer; Alfred, a wedding planner; Robert, who leads a isicathamiya singing group; Mr. Gift, a blind Zimbabwean; JJ, a young white venture capitalist; and sixteen-year-old Lillan, a political refugee.
Joy, it’s Nina – produced in England and Nigeria — is a film built on the experiences and lives of West African women living in the UK who have been separated from their families. The stories are based on news, court reports and director Joy Elias-Rilwan’s own life. Details here and here.
La Réunion: Terre d’asile ou Terre hostile (“land of asylum or a hostile land?”) is a documentary by Said-Ali Said Mohamed about racism and prejudices held towards Comorean immigrants in Réunion:
Lonbraz Kann is a Mauritian film project by David Constantin about the sugar cane industry on the island, how it has been affected by the global market, and the wider implications of the sugar demand crash on the island’s society. Or, as the synopsis has it, “Sugarcane is no longer viable, soon there will be only a golf course and luxury villas where it stood.” Here’s the film’s website.
Earlier this year, when it was presented in Cannes, some reviewers found Egyptian filmmaker Yousry Nasrallah’s After the Battle “too complex”. Never a bad sign:
Not unrelated to the Mauritian film above, Faso Fani, La Fin du Rêve (“Faso Fani, the end of the dream”) is a documentary project in production by Michel K. Zongo (left), also the maker of ‘Espoir-Voyage’, about Burkina Faso’s first textile factory — named Faso Fani, or “national loincloth”. In its heyday, Faso Fani was one of the most important factories in the country before it went into decline. Faso Fani finally closed in 2001 under a Structural Adjustment Program imposed on the country.
Le Djassa a Pris Feu (“Burn it up Djassa”) is a first long-feature by Ivorian director Lonesome Solo. Pitch line: a “noir-tinged urban legend set to the cadence of slam poetry and the beat of street dance”:
Director Nabil Ben Yadir (in the photo left; whose film on first and second generation Belgian-Moroccan The Barons was a local — and highly recommended — hit) is to start shooting his second feature La Marche (“The march”). Synopsis: “The screenplay is inspired by real events and is set back in 1983. For many ‘Arabs’ across France, racist crimes and police brutality are inevitable. Youth from the Minguettes (a neighbourhood in Vénissieux, on the outskirts of Lyon), who are no better armed than the others, decide to stop “hanging out” and to do everything so as not to be considered as second class citizens. In the way of Gandhi, they have the idea of a great non-violent march. With the support of Christophe Dubois, the Minguettes’ priest, they start a ‘March for equality and against discrimination’. From Marseille to Paris.”
Joe Ouakam is a documentary by Senegalese director Wasis Diop about the painter, sculptor, actor and playwright also known as Issa Samb:
And there’s this short film by the directors of When China Met Africa: Madam President, a “behind-the-scenes access” to Malawi’s President Joyce Banda. Wonderful shot: Banda on a visit to Brussels, diving into the city’s tunnels. Quote: “I believe we have so much to learn from China. / How is China!? / We need to go to China!” Final shot: Malawi’s next elections are scheduled for 2014.