A Ton of New African Films Screening at The International Film Festival Rotterdam

This year’s International Film Festival of Rotterdam has a big selection of new African films scheduled. The festival runs until next weekend so if you’re anywhere near, go check it out. I’ve embedded the trailers and clips I could find, plus the screening dates. Thankfully, most of the films (documentary, short, long fiction) have more than one screening date. The introductory blurbs come courtesy of the festival’s website.

Walk With Me (Johan Oettinger and Peter Tukei Muhumuza). Uganda, Denmark. “This complex, sometimes dark short film skilfully combines animation and feature film techniques. The two directors were brought together as part of the Copenhagen documentary festival’s Dox:Lab project. Walk with Me was shot in Uganda and completed in Denmark. A young girl in Uganda dreams of being a ballerina…” Thu 30 Jan, 19:00.


Shoeshine (Amil Shivji). Tanzania. “A colourful and light like a comedy, but the maker also provides social commentary on Dar-es-Salaam’s society and his country, Tanzania. The story is set in a street where a shoeshine man and a bar owner symbolise the rest of the world.” Sun 26, 22:15 / Mon 27 Jan, 14:15.

Salvation Army (Abdellah Taïa). Morocco, France. “A young Moroccan writer filmed his own book, telling his life’s story. About a boy in Casablanca who finds out you can earn money through homosexuality and about a student who, poor, cold and alone, knocks on the door of the Salvation Army in Europe.” Tue 28 Jan, 19:00 / Wed 29 Jan, 21:45 / Thu 30 Jan, 12:45 / Fri 31 Jan, 21:45.

B For Boy (Chika Anadu). Nigeria. “A drama that bucks the familiar Nollywood trend. A contemporary, detailed narrative about a woman who takes extreme measures to give her husband a son.” Sun 26 Jan, 12:30 / Mon 27 Jan, 19:30 / Thu 30 Jan, 21:45.

Berea (Vincent Moloi). South Africa. “Long after friends and family have moved away from a notorious Johannesburg suburb, Jewish retiree Aaron Zukerman lives there in his ever smaller, darkening world. An unexpected visit on Friday breaks Aaron’s routine and sets off cautious assimilation.” Sun 26 Jan, 14:15 / Tue 28 Jan, 17:00 / Sat 1 Feb, 12:00.

Chigger Ale (Fanta Ananas). Ethiopia, Spain. “People are dancing at the neighbourhood bar Fendika in Addis Ababa, but it goes quiet when Hitler walks in. Only briefly, mind you, as it’s soon time to play a practical joke, like pulling the fake moustache off the little guy in uniform. He’s not amused.” Yes, that sounds far-out. The trailer doesn’t reveal much more. Sun 26 Jan, 16:45 / Mon 27 Jan, 17:30 / Sat 1 Feb, 14:15.

A Hole in the Sky (Antonio Tibaldi and Alex Lora). Somalia, France. “A document providing insight into the mind of a rural Somali girl. She accepts that tradition demands that she has to make a great sacrifice. The boundary between fact and fiction dissolves thanks to the poetic voice-over.” Sun 26 Jan, 22:15 / Mon 27 Jan, 14:15.

A Letter to Mohamed (Christine Moderbacher). Tunisia, Austria, Belgium. “A Personal report from Tunisia two years after the revolution. Many people are disappointed, but they still hope that they will gain freedom and justice and that the tourists will return. What is freedom actually like? Traces of revolutionary zeal about to ignite against this background.” Sun 26 Jan, 19:30.

Rags and Tatters (Ahmad Abdalla). Egypt. “January 2011: Egypt is in the grip of revolution. Asser Yassin escapes from jail only to end up in a country he no longer recognises. Rags and Tatters does not feature mass protests on Tahrir Square, but rather a general sense of threat.” Mon 27 Jan, 18:30 / Wed 29 Jan, 13:00 / Fri 31 Jan, 10:00.

It’s Us (Nick Reding). Kenya. “Convincing proof that an educational, political film made in Africa (Kenya) can also be good fun. Even comical. A nonchalant mix of film and theatre, inspired by the election riots of 2007: on mistrust in a fragile community.” Sun 26 Jan, 15:30 / Mon 27 Jan, 09:15 / Thu 30 Jan, 13:00 / Sat 1 Feb, 13:45.

There’s many more, including some older ones that haven’t been shown all that often in the Low Countries. Check the full programme (neatly sorted per continent).

Further Reading

A private city

Eko Atlantic in Lagos, like Tatu City in Nairobi, Kenya; Hope City in Accra, Ghana; and Cité le Fleuve in Kinshasa, DRC, point to the rise of private cities. What does it mean for the rest of us?

What she wore

The exhibition, ‘Men Lebsa Neber,’ features a staggering collection of the clothes and stories of rape survivors across Ethiopia.