Interview with the artistic director of the African film festival of Verona, which will be held from 11 to 20 November 2011.
The African film festival of Verona has reached his 31st edition this year, what are the programs laying ahead?
The slogan for this year’s festival is “revolution, the Arab spring and diaspora”. The festival also wants to be a window towards the reality of Africa, as it relates to the events which shook the continent this year. These changes apart from political revolution have also sparked cultural, social and artistic revolution.
We want to have the opportunity to bring to screen, the productions which are talking of this Africa that is changing and want to be the protagonist of its own stories. For this, we will have the works of different artists of new generation, the generation through which the revolt in Egypt, Tunisia, and Algeria was born.
It’s going to be very interesting following this course of history. There will also be internal events throughout the week of festival (11 to 20 November). There will be conferences to deepen this theme of revolution and changes.
Above all, this year is also the year of diaspora for which we have created a small session to showcase the works of Africans living in Europe and talking about Africa.
Apart from the session of competition, we will also have a session on African migration (viaggiatori migranti); the works of both Africans and Italians alike, talking about African migration.
Which are the films and filmmakers in participation this year?
The guests we are having this year are not much because, of course we are also living in a moment of economic difficulties. Notwithstanding, we will have a Nigerian director, Jeta Amata whose film (Black Gold) is opening the festival and will be present at the inauguration. We will have the director of “viaggio ad Algeri”. This is important because, it’s a film directly on the changes, so having this personality to testify of the revolution is very interesting.
We also will have two directors of short films coming for the festival. One is Le Sabe a Burkinabe who lives in France and the other is Julius Amedume, the director of “Precipizio”, one of the films in competitions.
How is the city of Verona reacting to this festival on Africa and a changing world?
From what I understand, I feel that there is a lot of curiosity. From the local newspapers, the mass media; there are some information going around.
We understand that one thing is the information mediated, coming from the newspapers and our local televisions and another thing is to have the information from those who are the direct protagonists of the situation.
Apart from having the opportunity to see a film produced by the people who have lived the actual situation and filmed those moments or hearing their testimonies of the changes, I think this will help to have a different perspective and to enlarge the horizon and to have a more critical vision of all that have happened.
I tend to believe that there is a lot of curiosity in the air also because there are many Africans who though are living here with us, like the local people, but are coming from those lands.
For this I think this is a very interesting occasion also for them.
What are your expectations for this edition of the festival?
Well, our expectation for the festival is always high. Whether good or bad, the festival is the activity we are always occupied throughout the year, so we believe it’s going to be an important show, also because there are few festivals like our in Italy.
I think it is something very important having the opportunity to bring to the city, films, personalities and cultural projects. I think this is one of the things people appreciate a lot, in the sense that the people have the chance to interact with one another.
Our expectation is that there should be a good reception of this proposition and this we want in numbers; we like to see it in the public participation, of the schools and different associations in the city.
Interview translated by Ewanfoh Obehi Peter
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