Afrika Eye Film Festival was founded in 2005 by Simon Bright and Ingrid Sinclair, both of whom began their careers in Zimbabwe. The festival has gone from strength to strength since then, and hopes to do so well into the future.
Ingrid Sinclair and Simon Bright
Until 2003, producer Simon Bright and director Ingrid Sinclair lived and worked in Harare, Zimbabwe, where they founded Zimmedia Film and Video production company and were founder members of the Southern African Film Festival. Between them they have made a range of films that tell stories of southern African popular culture, politics, social issues, and history (e.g.,Flame, Tides of Gold, From the Shade into the Sun, and Mbira Music: Spirit of the People). Whilst living in Zimbabwe they often showed their work at the great FESPACO (Festival Panafricain du Cinéma et de la Télévision de Ouagadougou) in Burkina Faso, but for now they channel their experience of film festivals as founders and principal coordinators of Afrika Eye in Bristol, UK.
Last year Afrika Eye screened the European premiere of Simon’s new major documentary, Robert Mugabe… what happened?, which went on to be nominated for best documentary at the South African Film and Television awards. In the months to come, he’ll be on the lookout for the latest and greatest productions from the bottom of the world.
Meanwhile, Ingrid has been touring both film and arts festivals in Europe. This year she’s been to Thessaloniki and Creteil, with moles strategically place at Cannes, Berlin, and Rotterdam. She’s also dug into the past to bring you a collection of stunning South African films that you’ve probably never heard of!
Forward Maisokwadzo is, among other things, a journalist and researcher from Zimbabwe. Currently based in Bristol, he is deeply involved with the local community. He works part-time as a development worker for both Bristol: City of Sanctuary and the Southern Africa Resources Centre, which administers the twinning link between Bristol and Beira, Mozambique. Forward also works as a research consultant for the Bristol Multi-Faith Forum, who are currently carrying out a faith audit in Bristol.
Forward is chairman of the Bristol Zimbabwe Association, a community with the collective aims of raising awareness about the state of affairs in Zimbabwe, preserving and promoting Zimbabwean culture, and providing support for Zimbabweans both in the UK and in their home country. As a member of the Board, Forward has helped to provide a stronger link with the African Voices Forum, of which the Bristol Zimbabwe Association is a registered member.
Louise Lynas is production manager and company director of Firstborn Creatives, who work with young people, educational institutions, community organisations and broadcasters to produce creative and challenging media projects. She has long had an interest in the arts, with master’s degrees in both Fine Art and Art Therapy and teaching experience as a visiting lecturer at various American institutions. In recent years she has worked extensively in event management, helping organise well-known festivals and cultural events, including WOMAD, the Bristol St. Paul’s Carnival, Shambhala Festival, and Tribe of Doris. She is currently an integral member of the team at The Spark, a region-wide magazine based in Bristol looking at life alternatives. Louise lives in Montpelier, in the heart of Bristol, and is very much part of her local community.
Siobhan Kierans co-founded Tribe of Doris, the intercultural arts organisation, in 1991 whilst completing a degree in Visual Anthropology at Bristol Polytechnic. She went on to study documentary film-making at the Northern Media School. She has lived in Egypt and has a thirty year-long relationship with Morocco, as well as having travelled in many other countries worldwide. As artistic director of Tribe of Doris she co-runs an annual intercultural summer school that works with artists, teachers, and musicians from all over the world. She has also set up several community businesses.
Lord Paul Boateng
Afrika Eye Film Festival patron, Lord Paul Yaw Boateng became the UK’s first black cabinet minister in 2002, as Chief Secretary of the Treasury. He served as the British High Commissioner to South Africa (2005 – 2009). A civil rights lawyer and Methodist lay preacher, he was raised to the peerage as Baron Boateng, of Akyem in the Republic of Ghana and of Wembley in the London Borough of Brent 2010.
Visual artist Graeme Evelyn is the co-curator of Afrika Eye 2012 Film Festival’s Jamaican strand. Co-founder of Jamaica Street studios in Bristol, his work has been displayed and collected including in Gloucester Cathedral, African American Center Princeton University, Cornell University NY, Museum in Docklands London, Saint Stephen’s church, Watershed and M-Shed, Bristol. He is also a musician for over 20 years of the percussion in African Caribbean and African Brasilian / Colombian musical traditions.
Sauda is the chair of African Voices Forum (AVF), a developing forum for African and African-Caribbean community organisations in Bristol.
Project co-ordinator, Poku Osei, is also chair and co-ordinator for Babbasa Youth Empowerment Projects (BYEP), a Bristol-based community based organisation empowering young people, predominantly from underprivileged backgrounds.
Marti Burgess is a Bristol-based lawyer, social entrepreneur, owner of the Lakota nightclub, and according to her Twitter profile “eater, reader and lover of all things Bristol and Jamaica”. She is also a trustee of the Bristol Music Trust, a trustee of the Queen Square Association and a director of social enterprises, Imayla and The African & Caribbean Chamber of Commerce.