The choice of films for the inaugural Colours of The Nile International Film Festival 2012, has been a compelling and visually inspiring cinematic feast, from every corner of the African continent, - east, west, north and south.
The films exhibited diverse subject matter, but on the whole, the Jury was struck by a common thread that weaved its way through the majority of the competition films in the fiction and documentary genres – that of migrant and immigrant lifestyles and displacement through immigration. This is perhaps not surprising, as it is very much a sign of the times through out the world in which we live today – migration from one country to the other, for a variety of reasons that ultimately leads to people seeking a better life for themselves and their families, is something we can all relate to and it is an issue that is top of the socio/economic and political agenda of most countries of the world.
In the telling of their stories, filmmakers used a wide range of styles from traditional film/cinema language to more current innovative and excitingly modern ways of storytelling, incorporating a mixture of traditional and new media formats.
The films shown, were stories from the Continent, whose authenticity was absolutely confirmed by the fact that the stories were told from the African viewpoint, by African storytellers.
The films brought to the festival screens this week, have emphasised how important is for those amongst us who are filmmakers, to continually put forward, our hopes, our dreams, our visions and memories and we look forward to bearing witness to more films through African eyes.
The Jury has decided unanimously to award the following prizes:
- Best Long Feature Film – The winning film shows a very high level of originality, high artistic merit, an innovative approach to storytelling and profound cinematographic flair. A rarely touched upon subject of a journey about the struggles of African migration to the USA, told with care and attention to detail.
The winning film for the best long feature film is RESTLESS CITY (2011) by Andrew Dosunmo from Nigeria.
- Best Short Film – The Jury was struck by the highly original, innovative and creative way of depicting the hustle and bustle of life in a capital city, by mixing live sound with artistic animation techniques using animals that are a distinct part of life in the city, to portray in a humourous way, the behaviour of humans.
The award for the best short film goes to HISAB (2011) by the artist Ezra Wube from Ethiopia.
- Best Documentary Film – The Jury was unanimously moved by the soberness and love with which the director goes on the journey from one country to another to trace the trail of his brother, who left the country for economical reasons 17 years ago and is rumoured to be dead.
The award for the best documentary goes to VOYAGE OF HOPE by Michel K. Zongo from Burkina Faso.
- Best Cinematography – The Jury has decided to award the best cinematography to a film that shows a creative and innovative visual approach to storytelling, thereby achieving a high level of photographic artistry and cinematic design that stands by itself in telling a gripping story.
The Best Cinematography award goes to RESTLESS CITY (2011) by Andrew Dosunmu from Nigeria.
- Best Screen Play – The winning film epitomizes what a good film is about, a great story well told. The Jury was impressed with how this story about a very dramatic issue in contemporary Africa without the introduction of drama effects.
The best Screenplay award goes to THE REPENTANT (2012) by Nerzak Allouachi from Algeria.
- Best Sound – This award goes to an outstanding documentary work with live sound recorded and adapted during a dramatic turn of events, while maintaining the original tension of the environment as the action occurred.
The Best Sound award goes to ½ A REVOLUTION (2011) by Karim El Hakim Omar Shargawi from Egypt.
- Best Sound Track – The award of best Sound Track goes to the film that the Jury felt, deserved recognition for its superior and original sound track that adds to the visual appreciation of the film and firmly sets the story in the South African context.
The award for best soundtrack goes to Otelo Burning (2011), directed by Sara Blecher from South Africa.
- Best Actor – The Jury has decided to award the best actor to a character who, although seems to have a minor part in the film, conveys with tremendous strength and humility, his emotional frustrations and sadness about the dramatic course the lives of his beloved ones has taken.
The award for Best Actor goes to Kenneth Nkosi for his part as the father in Otelo Burning (2011) by Sara Blecher.
- Best Actress – The Jury has decided to award Best Actress for the role of wife and mother that sees her transformation from a cheerful loving woman and caring wife to an introverted, bitter and struggling woman following unjustified societal pressure. Her performance shows highly remarkable and convincing screen acting.
Taking this artistic achievement into consideration the award for Best Actress goes to ELIZABETH MELAKU in SCENT OF A LEMON (2012) by Abraham Gezahagne.
Given the diversity, relevance and richness of the films screened in the festival, the Jury has decided to give 3 special mentions to films which deserve special mention.
- The 1st Special Mention goes to SCENT OF A LEMON (2012) by Abraham Gezahagne for its skilled adaptation of a famous story with universal appeal and a unique approach to telling the story. The Jury feels that the director has introduced certain elements of archival material that added little value to the essence of the drama.
- The 2nd Special mention goes to the short film Taxi Sister (2011) by Theresa Traore-Dahlberg from Senegal and Sweden which depicts the difficulties of African Women in gaining access to traditionally mail dominated occupations. The Jury felt thatthe main character could have been even more developed.
- The 3rd Special mention goes to the documentary Mining for Change (2010) by Eric Miyeni from South Africa, whose film gives us a good insight into an issue that has recently shocked the world with South African miners being brutally killed while struggling for reforms in mining in the 21st century. With recent events in the mining sector, the film could perhaps benefit from the inclusion of a more human angle as opposed to the traditional style of a talking heads documentary.