Author Archives: Afrika Eye

Afrika Eye announces 2013 dates


News Release

Afrika Eye announces 2013 dates – Friday 8 November to Sunday 10 November

Afrika Eye – the South West’s biggest celebration of African films and culture – returns to Watershed in Bristol for its eighth successive year, offering regional premieres of features from Algeria, Burkino Faso, Kenya, Nigeria and Senegal as well as director talks, documentaries, shorts, debates and cultural exchanges featuring music and dance.

To view a trailer of Nairobi Half Life, which will featured at the festival, watch it below:

Award-winning new features from Kenya and Senegal will be among those getting their South West premieres when the region’s biggest celebration of African film and culture – Afrika Eye – returns to Watershed in Bristol in November for its eighth successive year. This year’s Afrika Eye will run from Friday 8 November to Sunday 10 November and will offer talks, debates and cross-cultural entertainments as well as screenings of the latest full-length films, shorts and documentaries by film-makers from, or with roots in, Africa.

To mark the 50th anniversary of Kenya’s independence, Kenyan films and film-makers are being given centre stage. The line-up from Kenya will include the first SW screening of David ‘Tosh’ Gitonga’s internationally-acclaimed NAIROBI HALF LIFE and a showing of SOMETHING NECESSARY, directed by special guest Judy Kibinge, followed by a Q&A. Another special guest will be director Alain Gomis (Senegal/France) who will launch Afrika Eye 2013 on Friday 8 November by introducing and then discussing his internationally-applauded feature, TEY (Aujourd’hui/Today), which stars the actor, musician and poet Saul Williams (whose previous film credits include SLAM).

Afrika Eye’s full timetable is due out in October, with tickets on sale from Watershed Box Office. To keep up to date with programming news, see; ‘like’ Afrika Eye Film Festival on Facebook or follow AfrikaEyeFest on Twitter.

Media enqueries
For more info, images, interviews, press tickets, etc, please contact: Pam Beddard, Festival Publicist – 0117 987 0442/ 07767 621207;

Notes to Editors

The Afrika Eye film festival was founded in 2005 by two Bristol based film-makers: Zimbabwe-born Simon Bright and Ingrid Sinclair, who lived in southern Africa for nearly 20 years. The aim of the festival is to encourage, celebrate and share excellence by film-makers who are either based in Africa or are part of the African diaspora.

The festival is constantly growing in scale and scope and this year’s – the eighth – promises to be the most vibrant yet. As well as screenings of features, live action and animated shorts and documentaries, visitors will also be able to enjoy director talks, topical debates and social events featuring African live music, dancing and food.

In addition, Afrika Eye works with Annie Menter of the WOMAD Foundation to take African culture workshops into local schools in the run-up to each festival. This year this will see schoolchildren in and around Bristol finding out about the music, dances, stories and arts and crafts of Kenya’s Maasai people. To mark this year’s 50th anniversary of Kenya’s independence from British rule, Afrika Eye 2013 includes a special focus on Kenyan film-making and film-makers.

Afrika Eye gratefully acknowledges the financial support of the British Film Institute, Awards for All, the University of the West of England, the Morel Trust.

Kenya theme for Afrika Eye 2013

To mark the 50th anniversary of Kenya’s independence, Kenyan films and film-makers are being given centre stage. This includes launching the festival with the first SW screening of David ‘Tosh’ Gitonga’s highly-praised NAIROBI HALF LIFE (which reviewers are describing as Africa’s SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE) and the regional premiere of SOMETHING NECESSARY followed by a Q&A session with its up-and-coming director Judy Kibinge. 
As a warm up and to build new audiences we have linked up with George Salt, founder of the Film Club Network.

The Film Club Network brings school children in Kenya and Bristol together, allowing them to virtually exchange films through their new cinema clubs.

As volunteer coordinator, I am excited to be exploring how Afrika Eye can grow and become more integrated with the Bristol community through the commitment of its volunteers. We are setting up a series of pre-festival pop up screenings across Bristol unifying communities through cinema. Volunteers are driving these developments. The future looks very bright indeed! – George Salt.

The Film Club Network is inspiring young people in Kenya and Bristol to become active global citizens through the magic of film. FCN is excited to be working with Afrika Eye this year, providing a short filmmaking workshop for young people in Bristol, with a simultaneous workshop being held in Nairobi.

A Film Club Network session in Nairobi. Photos from George Salt.

Afrika Eye forges new alliances at FESPACO

In February this year Afrika Eye was present in force at Fespaco, the oldest and largest African film festival on the continent.


Place des Cineastes, Burkina Faso’s monument to film.

Celebrated in the dusty streets of Burkina Faso’s capital Ouagadougou, this festival is hot, really hot. Some days it was 43 degrees in the shade. Famed for showing the best of African cinema (and at times the worst) it is still the best place to meet some of the leading characters who have shaped African cinema over the past sixty years. Famed Malian filmmaker Souleymane Cissé was there; as was Cheick Oumar Sissoko, filmmaker and former minister of culture for Mali. Afrika Eye’s Simon Bright was invited to the festival and his film Robert Mugabe… What Happened? was selected for the official competition.



The Ouagadougou Declaration
It is here that much of African film policy is crafted and agreed, and so the four British African film festivals Afrika Eye, Africa in Motion,  Film Africa and the Cambridge African Film Festival met and formulated the Ouagadougou declaration. Through this we all agreed to share films and filmmakers in a touring package and to work towards a common funding bid in the future in order to better serve the interests of showing African cinema in the UK and improve cross cultural understanding. The outcome will be three festivals that remain as distinct as before, yet have increased power to improve and develop into the future.


Beyond the business of festival collaborations, there was a series of talks looking at African literature and cinema. This part of the festival brought leading lights in African literature to discuss issues such as the adaptation of historical African stories from text to the screen. Nobel prize winner Wole Soyinka presented a brilliant paper critically undermining the destructive power of fundamentalism, from whatever source.

Wole Soyinka gave the opening address of the literature strand.

FESPACO is also a serious market for craft from all over West Africa. We met up with one of the Africa Eye Directors Louise Lynas, who along with her colleague Akua Ofosuhene, had bused up from Ghana to run a market stall of textiles they had manufactured there. They also have a second string to their innovative income generating bow which is as script writers of Ghanaian soap operas. Akua meanwhile is developing a brilliant animation about a Ghanaian Queen.

Louise Lynas and Akua

We met a bunch of old friends including Fanta Regina Nacro from Burkina Faso. Fanta’s film Bintou screened at Africa Eye in 2011. Ingrid Sinclair of Afrika Eye also met Djamila Sahraoui, an old friend from Algeria who went on to win the Silver Stallion in the feature film category with her film Yema.

Fanta Nacra wearing a Xhosa hat.

FESPACO is great on pagentary. The name Burkina Faso owes it’s origin to a legendary Amazonian cavalry warrior and you can still see horses trotting the streets in amongst the phalanxes of mobilettes. So the first prize is a statue of a golden stallion, whilst the jury arrive in horse drawn carriages.

The festival jury arriving by horse-drawn carriage.

And the winner is… Senegalese Director Alain Gomis for Tey. Afrika Eye is currently negotiating for the rights to show Tey this November.

Alain Gomis receiving the Golden Stallion for Tey.


Afrika Eye on ITV

Ripton Lindset on ITV West

In the run up to Afrika Eye Ripton Lindsey led a number of dance workshops in local schools. Click on the image to watch the report.

Ripton Lindsey on ITV West

Afrika Eye success!

tan teddy
Afrika Eye has once again been a resounding success, with both the opening and closing films completely selling out!

Our opening night kicked off joyously with The Plantation’s famous Jamaican punch and Tan Teddy, a local Jamaican group, greeting arrivals with a couple of gorgeous songs on the Harbourside outside the Watershed. With Watershed’s largest cinema packed to capacity, director Ingrid Sinclair welcomed everyone, Tan Teddy performed another song, Fish4ever talked briefly talk about the need for sustainable fishing and we were off. Gripping and realistic, opening film ‘La Pirogue’ left the audience with a real appreciation of some of the traumas experienced by Senegalese asylum seekers and refugees. But the serious mood was immediately lifted by a fabulous party in the Watershed bar with Jamaican MC/dancer Ripton Lindsay and long time collaborator Mr Benn on the turntables. David Cox’s Jamaican inspired artwork played on a screen behind the musicians and 2 hours of non-stop dancing took us to the end of another great Afrika Eye opening night.

One of the highlights of the Saturday was the very impressive turnout for our panel discussions. After watching the powerful documentaries Weapon of War and State of Mind, over 70 people came to hear about different therapeutic approaches to dealing with trauma from around the world.

On the Sunday the Healing theme came to its conclusion with two extremely moving, though entirely contrasting films. Set against the backdrop of Chad’s recent civil war, Darrat was a slow, brooding and highly personal exploration of the tension between revenge and reconciliation. At the other end of the emotional spectrum was Kinshasa Symphony, a jubilant look at the hopes and dreams of the musicians in Congo’s one and only symphony orchestra as they work up to a triumphant rendition of Beethoven’s 9th.

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2012 Festival Programme

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The full programme for Afrika Eye 2012 is now available to view online. Click here to find out what’s on!

Afrika Eye Film Festival 2012 launches on Friday 9th November with a sensational blend of African film and Jamaican music and dance – inaugurating a festival that celebrates 50 years of Jamaican independence and pays tribute to the power of healing trauma in Africa.

The festival will be opening with a sensational new film from Senegalese director Moussa Touré. Winning a standing ovations at this year’s Cannes festival, LA PIROGUE is the moving story of a group of Senegalese men who, desperate to escape poverty, set off for Europe on a simple fishing boat, hoping for a better life. This will be followed by Afrika Eye’s famed opening night party in the Watershed bar, this year bringing together a stunning Jamaican dance and MC turntable collaboration from Ripton Lindsey and Mr Benn.  The night also features Jamaican folk song and dance from local Bristol group Tan Teddy and a short Jamaican dance interpretation by pupils from Cotham School following their Afrika Eye workshop with Ripton and Mr Benn.

For more information on the programme of films, talks and workshops, click here.

La Pirogue – Opening Film

la-pirogue Picture 3
Fri 9 November – 20.30

LA PIROGUE   87’ Dir: Moussa Touré, Senegal. French and Wolof. Subtitled

Winning standing ovations at this year’s Cannes festival, La Pirogue is the moving story of a group of Senegalese men who set off for Europe on a simple fishing boat, hoping for a better life. Baye Laye is the captain of a fishing pirogue who dreams of earning a better living for his family. When he is offered the chance to lead one of the many expeditions that head towards Europe via the Canary Islands, he reluctantly accepts the job, knowing the dangers that lie ahead. Adroitly capturing the dilemmas facing these desperate men, “La Pirogue” is a powerful depiction of a story that is relevant worldwide.

Tickets £8/£6.50


Launch Party

opening party
Fri 9 November 22.15 – Midnight.

Our famous after party will take place in the Watershed café/bar with Ripton Linsdey and Mr Benn on the dance floor, turntables and mics, complete with Jamaican DJ shack. Watch out for Jamaican folk song and dance from local group Tan Teddy, and the premiere of a new young people’s mix from the Afrika Eye Cotham School workshop.

MR BENN: Producer/DJ. His blend of reggae and hip hop introduced the new Bristol sound to the world. He’s DJd alongside Massive Attack’s Daddy G, Queen Bee and MC Souls Liberation, and hIs range of production techniques combined with DJ and selector skills will have you jumping.

RIPTON LINDSEY: Dancer /MC. Ripton grew up in Jamaica immersed in music and dance. He’s worked with Africa Bambaata, DJ Babu, DJ Mr Benn and Massive Attack. Incorporating traditional and contemporary Jamaican music with hip hop and reggae, he’s a sought after tutor and a mesmerising performer.

Entry free with ticket to opening film. 

Jamaican Theme


Sat 10 November – 16.40

Life and Debt

80 min Dir: Stephanie Black, 2001, USA/ Jamaica, Cert: 18

Jamaica: land of sea, sand and sun, and a prime example of the complexities of economic globalisation on the world’s developing countries. This searing documentary takes a bold look at the impact globalisation policies – including the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank – have had on Jamaica’s economic and social wellbeing. An unapologetic look at the ‘new world order’ from the point of view of Jamaican workers, farmers, government and policy officials, who see the reality of globalisation – from the ground up.

Fee: £5.50 / £4.00 concs.

Sat 10 November – 18:30

Better Has Come – Jamaican Creative Industries (Seminar)

A stunning line up of artists will discuss the state of Jamaican creative industries today with the audience. Graeme Evelyn (visual artist); Ripton Lindsay (music and dnace) Andy Mundy-Castle (film director), Paul Bucknor (music and film producer BETTER MUS’ COME and THE FULL MONTY). Afrika Eye Festival patron Lord Paul Boateng will moderate.

Fee: £5.50 / £4.00 concs.


Sat 10 November – 21.00

Better Mus’ Come

104 min Dir: Storm Saulter, 2011, Jamaica, Cert: 18 (subtitled)

Passion, politics and poverty collide as this stunning love story, one of the most important films from Jamaica today, unfolds against a backdrop of political turmoil in 70s Kingston. We follow Ricky (Sheldon Shepherd), recently released from jail as a political prisoner, as he tries to find peace among warring gangs in Kingston. When he meets Kemala (Nicole Sky Grey), a beautiful young woman who lives on the opposite side of town where a gang leader rules, Ricky’s choices soon become both clearer, and more difficult. Followed by a Q&A with the film’s producer Paul Bucknor.

Fee: £8.00 full / £6.50 concs.


Sun 11 November – 14:30

The Fade + Director Q & A

4 barbers, 4 lives, 1 story. The Fade is an intimate portrait of four Afro barbers across the world over seven days. This observational documentary reveals exactly what this profession means to society in the 21st century. Set in Ghana, Jamaica, the USA and the UK, the film interweaves their stories and examines the polarised opposites of the locations; creating an international dialogue of the colourful lives of four men who do the same thing, in different time zones, with very different realities. It’s more than just a haircut!


All tickets available from Watershed.

State of Mind: Healing Theme

WeaponDRC  (154 of 453)

SAT 10 NOVEMBER – 14.30

Weapon of War

59’ Dir: Ilse & Femke van Velzen, Congo/Netherlands (subtitled). The first film from the festival’s Healing strand. During decades of conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), possibly hundreds of thousands of women and girls were savagely raped. In WEAPON OF WAR, military perpetrators unveil what lies behind this brutal behavior and the strategies of rape as a war crime.

Tickets: £5.50/£4.00

Weapon of War, State of Mind and Seminar including tea/coffee: £16/£12 To book this offer please call Box Office on 0117 927 5100



State of Mind 

Dir: Djo Tunda Wa Munga, DRC (subtitled). Pioneering therapist Albert Pesso is invited to Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), where many people suffer from years of post traumatic stress disorder.  STATE OF MIND captures the sessions in a series of fly-on-the-wall scenes, and candid, heartbreaking interviews with the participants put the effort in a larger context.

Tickets: £5.50/£4.00




A panel of therapists and healers look at some of the therapies in the DRC, where so many have suffered the trauma of civil war. How do such forms of healing work and can they be transferred across cultures? A panel of experts give their views with audience input. This seminar forms part of a half-day session which includes the films WEAPON OF WAR about healing for rapists and those they have raped, STATE OF MIND dealing with post-traumatic stress, and KINSHASHA SYMPHONY exploring the restorative power of music.

Panellists include Sally Potter, Pesso Boyden therapist; Amelia Rana, counsellor specialising in hate crime and trans-cultural training. We are happy to give certificates of attendance for CPD purposes.

Tickets: Seminar only £5.50/£4.00

SUN 11 NOVEMBER - 16.15


96 min Dir: Mahamat-Saleh Haroun, 2006, France/Belgium/ Chad/Austria, Cert: 18 (subtitled).  Set in Chad, this film beautifully combines Chad’s magnetic desert colours with a story that is both African and universal. Following a government amnesty, sixteen year old Atim is given a gun by his grandfather to kill the man who murdered his father. Despite his disgust, Atim comes to recognise in the killer the father he has always needed, while the killer sees the teenager as a potential son.

Tickets: £5.50/£4

All tickets available from Watershed.

African Interactive: the Moving Image

africa interactive
Friday 9th November, 2 – 4 pm in Bristol, and 5 – 7 pm Nairobi.

A discussion on how Digital can expand the audience for the African moving image. Free. Why not reserve your place at Watershed? Otherwise you’ll need to pick up a free ticket from the box office on the day (space is limited).

STOP PRESS. If you can’t attend at Watershed or the iHub, why not follow the event via google plus and Twitter? Go to Tim Kindberg’s google plus page for a live video of the proceedings (and a recording afterwards). We’ll be tweeting with hashtag #africani. Add your voice!

Following on from the recent discussion at Encounters, Afrika eye is looking deeper into the question of how Digital can help expand the audience for the African moving image. We are holding a panel discussion simultaneously – both at Bristol’s Watershed and Nairobi’s iHub – live-linked by video.

The Bristol panellists are Afrika Eye’s Simon Bright, director of Mugabe, and Andrew Mugoya, founder of In Nairobi will be Wanuri Kahiu, director of Pumzi, John Mwangi, owner of Zenj Multimedia Communications, Bob Nyanja, director of The Rugged Priest. Additionally, David Tosh Gitonga, director of Nairobi Half Life, will join us from Los Angeles. See below for further information about the panellists.

Panellists and audience will debate where Digital will take the African moving image, and how African digital practices will affect the rest of the world. Differences between the Kenyan scene and other parts of the continent will be discussed. The goal is to look at some of the leading figures and the digital and cultural context they work in, including film creation, distribution and viewing.

Ultimately we aim to foster collaborations that will bring more African moving images to viewers inside and outside the continent.

This event is organised and moderated by Tim Kindberg of in Bristol, and The Creativez in Nairobi.

The African Interactive discussion precedes the opening film of the Afrika Eye Film Festival, La Pirogue at 8.30 pm.


Producer Simon Bright (Bristol panel) is a director of Afrika Eye. He and co-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. 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.




David Tosh Gitonga (Nairobi panel) popularly known as Tosh was born in a small town named Nanyuki in the East of Kenya on 20th Sep 1981. He studied Marketing and ended up in a Production Studio Baraka Studios for his internship. Here he was introduced to the world of Film as he did his first feature film Dangerous Affairs as a production assistant making coffee and photocopying scripts. He wasn’t bothered since he was only there for his internship but the film bug caught him and before he knew it he was doing more productions  Babus Babies 2003 and going up the ladder into the Directors department. He dealt with extras in the German Film Die Weise Maasai (The White Maasai) 2005. Tosh continued to work on several other productions as an assistant director,  Africa mon Amor 2006, Malooned 2007, Garden of Eden 2007, First Grader 2009 and finally in 2010 he enrolled in the One Fine day Master class where he  was selected to direct his first feature film Nairobi Half Life under the supervision of Tom Tykwer.



In 2008, Wanuri Kahiu (Nairobi panel) completed her first feature film From A Whisper based on the real life events surrounding the August 7, twin bombings of US Embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam in 1998.  The film won 5 awards at the Africa Movie Academy Awards including Best Director and Best Picture. The film went on to win awards including, the Golden Dhow award for Best East African Picture at Zanzibar International Film Festival and Best Film at Kalasha, Kenya Film and TV awards, Best Actor at Tarifa Film Festival and Best Film at Pan African Film Festival, Los Angeles. Shortly after she completed a documentary about the life of Nobel peace Prize laureate Wangari Maathai entitled For Our Land (2009) for M-Net ‘Great Africans’ Series. In 2009 she wrote and directed a short Science Fiction Film Pumzi that was partially funded by Focus Features (part of NBC universal), Goethe Institut and the Changa Moto Fund in Kenya. After playing at Sundance film festival, Pumzi won Best Short at Cannes Independent Film Festival, May 2010 and took Silver at Carthage Film Festival Tunisia, October 2010. Wanuri is now adapting two books into feature length narrative films and working on a documentary about the indie-pop local group ‘Just A Band’.


Andrew Mugoya (Bristol panel) is the Founder and Technical Director of the Asilia creative agency ( Asilia offers design, web and creative services. It has branches in London and Nairobi with an extensive list of clients from across the world, including Film Africa ( and Buni TV ( Andrew has considerable experience as a developer and project manager having worked in technology for more than 7 years at Barclays, Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan. He is the author of the well-received e-book, ‘African Apps in a Global Marketplace’ (available on which draws from his considerable experience to offers useful insights and tips on how African developers can be competitive in the global marketplace. Andrew holds a First in Computer Engineering from Warwick University and a Masters from Oxford University.


John Mwangi (Nairobi panel) is the owner of Zenj Multimedia Communications and the Kenyan Media Production Company Riverwood Investments, which owns the upcoming website His goals are to help create a vibrant commercially viable Audio Visual industry in East Africa that reflects our common cultural and historic heritage, and to create products that are distinctly East African. He authored a report on the Informal Kenyan Film Industry and was featured by WIPO on Copyright Issues in the Informal Creative Industry. He was part of the team that drafted the yet to be adopted Kenya National Film Policy. Formerly, he was a publicity consultant for the Kenya Human Rights Commission.



Bob Nyanja (Nairobi panel) always wanted to be a film maker. Growing up in the dirty streets of Nairobi, Eastlands, Bob recalls watching Cowboy Films in the morning shows that cost only 2 shillings. Then there were the Bollywood blockbusters. His passion for Film grew and Bob focused his energies in the drama club through high school. At University, Bob committed his time to studying literature and towards the end of his Post-graduate programme, he got a Scholarship to study Film and Video Production in the United States. Bob returned in 1997 to work in Production companies as a Producer for TV commercials. He began to get opportunities to Direct and Produce numerous commercials, TV shows, Documentaries and Corporate Videos. In 1999, Bob proposed a Comedy Show for the New Nation TV station that was being set up. The popular comedy show called “Redykyulass” became a major hit, parodying politicians and the Kenyan society at large. “The Rugged Priest” is Bob’s second feature and it’s a controversial story inspired by true events.









Jamaican Dance and Mask Making

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Saturday 10 November


Mask making Jamaican style with Dave Cox (ages 8–12)

Inspired by Jamaica’s rich musical history, Afrika Eye have joined forces with the WOMAD Foundation for a double bill of workshops leading to the all-new Afrika Eye procession. Artist David Cox uses Jamaican album covers as inspiration for kids aged 6-12 to get creative and make their own masks.

Tickets: £2.50 from the Watershed.



Jamaican dance with Ripton Lindsey (ages 13–18)

At this WOMAD Foundation workshop, Ripton teaches his own special brand of traditional and modern Jamaican dance techniques.

Tickets: £2.50 from the Watershed.




Mask and Dance Parade

Following the above workshops, participants parade their new masks and dances through the bar, out along the Harbourside and back into the next part of the Afrika Eye film festival programme.