PLANET AFRICA 2004
After a decade of world premieres, new talent launches, features, shorts, and documentaries by first-time filmmakers and cinematic masters alike, Planet Africa closes with its tenth edition.
Similar to previous TIFF programs created to increase awareness and audience appetite for specific film genres and regions such as Asia and Latin America, the Planet Africa program completes its transition into the Contemporary World Cinema program. Many of the Planet African filmmakers have also returned to screen in TIFF’s Special Presentations, Discovery and Masters programs.
September 9 - 18, 2004
Planet Africa Programmers' Note
In 1971, blues musician Gil Scott-Heron prophesied that the revolution would not be televised. Simultaneously, pioneer filmmaker Melvin Van Peebles was nervously waiting to discover whether his cinematic gamble, Sweet Sweetback’s Band Asssss Song, would pay off by drawing masses of black people into the theatres. Sweetbackwas the become the highest grossing independent film in the United State of the year, giving rise to a new black urban cinematic tradition. The revolution may not have been televised but, for a moment, it was immortalized on the big screen.
As the millennium progresses and the stirrings of revolution are awakening in unsuspected corners, a new language is sought – one that will redefine our cultural futures – therefore, the necessity to re-imagine a new cinematic trajectory grows ever more pressing. This year, Planet Africa contributes in this regard by bringing together seven first -time feature filmmakers (Norman Maake, Faouzi Bensaidi, Narjiss Nejjar, Branwen Okpako, D.A. Bullock, James Spooner and Didier Ouenangare) along with the established talents of S. Pierre Yameogro, Bassek be Kobhio, Don Letts, Rick Elgood and Mario Van Peebles.
Opening this year’s revolutionary palette is a son’s tribute to his father. In How to Get the Man’s Foot Outta Your Ass, Mario Van Peebles shatters cinematic conventions as he explores the personal experience of being the son of the ubiquitous Melvin Van Peebles. His film mixes intimate reflection with a courageous unravelling of the political and cultural war that many independent filmmakers wage in order to have their boundary-pushing visions made available to the public.
Today’s revolutionary tales come in various attractive packages, whether offering glimpses into the lush, green forests inhabited by the Babingas pygmies, the dark underworld of South Africa’s gold mines, the urban wonderland of the Afropunk, secret lives hidden in a Moraccan brothel, or the pressure building within the Ethiopian community in Israel If the use of good old-fashioned fun forces you to raise an eyebrow, then take a look at the Jamaican romantic comedy One Love or the road move Moi et mon blanc. Films of the African diaspora have many ways of speaking to their audiences; simply humanizing the African experience – as in Valley of the Innocent, Mille Moisor dark – can break moulds.
Being a woman director can still inspire surprise, so this year’s shorts programme is respectfully given over to exploring the female imagination. We are funny, vain and sensitive breed. This collection captures just this. Check out the wry comedy of Shari Frilot and Lynn A. Henderson, a novel take on the ubiquitous hair story by Jacqueline Kalimunda and two very different ways to say goodbye to love by Nzinga Kemp and co-directors Ouida Smit and Madoda Ncayiyana.
As always, Planet Africa is designed to leave you with your belly fully, so here’s hoping you have worked up an appetite.
Gaylene Gould & June Givanni
Planet Africa, Program Introduction
29th Annual Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF)
TIFF PA PROGRAMMING TEAM:
June Givanni, , Planet Africa Programmer
Gaylene Gould, Planet Africa Programmer
TBC, Planet Africa Program Assistant
FILMS & FILMMAKERS:
Above & Beneath (short) | René Alberta | USA
Aïcha (short) | Newton I. Aduaka | SEN/NGA
All About Darfur | Taghreed Elsanhouri | SDN/UK
Bullet Boy | Saul Dibb | UK
Gardiens de la Mémoire (Keepers of Memory) | Eric Kabera | RWA
Le Goût des jeunes filles (On the Verge of a Fever) | John L'Écuyer | CAN
Le Grand Voyage | Ismaël Ferroukhi | FRA/MAR
The Hero | Zézé Gamboa | AGO/PRT/FRA
Kounandi | Apolline Traoré | BFA | 2004
La Nuit de la vérité | Fanta Régina Nacro | FRA/BFA
Off Duty (short) | Buboo Kakati | USA |
One Flight Stand (short) | Saladin Patterson | USA
A Spoonful of Sugar (short) | Andrea Williams | USA
Time Out (short) | Xelinda Yancy | USA