The Main Role of Africa - Once Again
With support from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, the Open Doors section aims to support directors and producers from countries in the South and the East, where independent filmmaking is vulnerable. This initiative focuses on a different region every year and operates in two modes.
On the one hand the Open Doors Co-production Lab selects twelve film projects from the chosen region and offers the directors and producers involved an opportunity to train their pitching techniques and to meet with potential partners, mostly from Europe, to foster support for their projects, which would otherwise be difficult to complete.
On the other hand, in order to introduce the Festival audience to the cinematographic and cultural landscape of the chosen region, a number of films are selected each year to be part of the Open Doors Screenings.
This year Open Doors covers the following countries in Sub-Saharan Africa: Angola, Botswana, Cape Verde, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, São Tomé and Príncipe, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
Open Doors Screenings
DIFRET by Zeresenay Berhane Mehari – Ethiopia/United States – 2014 – 99 min.
EZRA by Newton I. Aduaka – Nigeria/United States/Great Britain/Austria – 2007 – 105 min.
FOOLS by Ramadan Suleman – South Africa/France – 1997 – 90 min.
HALF OF A YELLOW SUN by Biyi Bandele – Nigeria/Great Britain – 2013 – 111 min.
HERITAGE AFRICA by Kwaw Ansah – Ghana – 1989 – 124 min.
MAPANTSULA by Oliver Schmitz – South Africa/Great Britain – 1988 – 106 min.
MUEDA, MEMÓRIA E MASSACRE by Ruy Guerra – Mozambique – 1979 – 77 min.
NELISITA by Ruy Duarte de Carvalho – Angola – 1983 – 67 min.
NELSON MANDELA: THE MYTH & ME by Khalo Matabane – South Africa/Germany – 2014 – 86 min.
POR AQUI TUDO BEM by Pocas Pascoal – Angola/Portugal – 2011 – 94 min.
SAIKATI by Anne Mungai – Kenya – 1992 – 90 min.
SHIRLEY ADAMS by Oliver Hermanus – South Africa/United States/Great Britain – 2009 – 91 min.
SOMETHING NECESSARY by Judy Kibinge – Kenya/Germany – 2013 – 85 min.
TESTAMENT by John Akomfrah – Ghana/Great Britain – 1988 – 76 min.
TEZA by Haile Gerima – Ethiopia/Germany/France – 2008 – 139 min.
ZAMORA by Shams Bhanji – Tanzania – 2011 – 95 min.
AFRICAN METROPOLIS: BEREA by Vincent Moloi – South Africa – 2013 – 13 min.
AFRICAN METROPOLIS: HOMECOMING by Jim Chuchu – Kenya – 2013 – 11 min.
AFRICAN METROPOLIS: THE LINE-UP by Folasakin Iwajomo – Nigeria – 2013 – 14 min.
AL MAHATTA by Eltayeb Mahdi – Sudan – 1989 – 17 min.
JEMINA & JOHNNY by Lionel N’Gakane – South Africa/Great Britain – 1967 – 29 min.
KWAKU ANANSE by Akosua Adoma Owusu – Ghana/Mexico/United States – 2013 – 25 min.
MAWAZO by Nina Mnaya – Tanzania – 2008 – 13 min.
PUMZI by Wanuri Kahiu – Kenya/South Africa – 2009 – 23 min.
THE BUSINESS TRIP by Neema Kambona – Tanzania – 2008 – 13 min.
THE MARRIAGE OF MARIAMU by Ron Mulvihill and Nangayoma Ng'oge – Tanzania/United States – 1985 – 36 min.
Filmmakers attending Open Doors
Several filmmakers from countries in Sub-Saharan Africa will attend the next edition of Open Doors, reflecting the thematic, geographic and generational variety of cinema in this region. They will include Kwaw Ansah (director of Heritage Africa, 1989), one of the first generation of filmmakers in post-independence Ghana, and Ramadan Suleman, from South Africa, (whose film Fools won the Silver Leopard in 1997). Others include Newton I.
Aduaka (Nigerian director of Ezra, shown at Sundance in 2007 and winner of the Yennenga Stallion at FESPACO the same year), Khalo Matabane (Nelson Mandela: The Myth & Me, South Africa, 2014), Zeresenay Berhane Mehari (Difret, Ethiopia, winner of the Audience Prize at both Sundance and Berlin in 2014). Biyi Bandele (director of Half of a Yellow Sun, adapted from a novel by Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie), Pocas Pascoal (Por Aqui Tudo Bem, Angola/Portugal, 2011), Jim Chuchu (director of the short film Homecoming, Kenya, 2013) and Vincent Moloi (director of the short film Berea, South Africa, 2013), will also be present.
Open Doors: the Co-production Lab
The Lab, which takes place 9 – 12 August, aims to help the directors and producers of the projects selected from the region – 12 projects from English and Portuguese speaking regions of Sub-Saharan Africa (Angola, Ethiopia, Ghana, Lesotho, Mozambique, South Africa, Uganda, Zambia) – to find partners for completion finance and enable them to make their films. At the end of the four days, three awards will go to the best projects. The first prize, worth 50,000 CHF (approx 40,000 Euros), is funded by the Open Doors initiative in collaboration with the City of Bellinzona and the Swiss production support fund Visions Sud Est. A second award of 7,000 Euros will be offered by the CNC (Centre national du cinéma et de l’image animée) and ARTE will award a prize worth 6,000 Euros.
Two new awards have been introduced for 2014. A new partnership with the TorinoFilmLab will offer script-writing support for certain projects, and for one of the projects selected for Open Doors to participate in the Torino event’s next edition.
Moreover, thanks to the partnership with the Producers Network du Marché du Film de Cannes, three producers of projects presented at Open Doors will have an opportunity to participate in this prestigious event during the Cannes Festival in 2015.
The initiative is organized in close collaboration with the Festival’s Industry Office and enjoys support from the following partners: ACE (Ateliers du Cinéma Européen), EAVE (European Audiovisual Entrepreneurs), Producers Network Marché du Film (Festival de Cannes) and TorinoFilmLab.
ALELUIA by Zézé Gamboa – Angola
FARAWAY FRIENDS by Teboho Edkins – South Africa/Lesotho
FIG TREE by Alamork Marsha – Ethiopia/Israel
FIRST MAN by Jahmil X.T. Qubeka – South Africa
HEART AND FIRE by Sol de Carvalho – Mozambique
HOT COMB by Caroline Kamya – Uganda/Netherlands
I AM NOT A WITCH by Rungano Nyoni – Zambia/France
KULA: A MEMORY IN THREE ACTS by Inadelso Cossa – Mozambique
TERRITORIAL PISSINGS by Sibs Shongwe-La Mer – South Africa
THE MERCY OF THE JUNGLE by Joel Karekezi – South Africa/Rwanda/Belgium
THE TRAIN OF SALT AND SUGAR by Licinio de Azevedo – Mozambique/Portugal
UNBALANCED by P. Sam Kessie – Ghana
Introduced in 2013, the Ateliers have been redesigned for the 12th edition of Open Doors further enhancing their benefit to the projects. In order to prepare the 12 project holders for their sessions with potential co-producers, they will first meet - individually or in a group - with a wide range of professionals. These workshops will complement the traditional pitch preparation sessions led by Sybille Kurz.
Whether the project is at script stage or already in post-production, each team will thus benefit, in terms of their particular needs, from a personal exchange with professionals carefully chosen by the Open Doors team.
This year, thanks to the new partnership with the TorinoFilmLab, for the first time four projects will also benefit from script-writing support. Work on this will begin (long- distance) several weeks before the directors’ arrival at Locarno, where a session will be held with their tutors.
In addition to the individual meetings, Open Doors offers a case study on the distribution of independent films, particularly those in English and Portuguese speaking countries south from the Sahara. The presentation will be followed by a discussion with attending professionals about the future and new distribution opportunities for films from Africa. This will be led by the British curator and International Training Manager Suzy Gillett.
The workshops are intended above all to offer an opportunity for exchange about various issues affecting the production and distribution of independent films, and enable the various players to share best practices. They will also operate as a bridge between the pitch preparation and the official meetings seeking financial partners and distribution for the projects, thus facilitating and accelerating further contact with guests from the African continent and their counterparts in other regions of the world.
Professionals so far confirmed to participate as moderators include:
Roshanak Behesht Nedjad (Flying Moon Filmproduktion, Germany)
Suzy Gillett (Curator and International Relations Training Manager, Great Britain)
Georges Goldenstern (Cinéfondation, France)
Marion Klotz (Freelance Consultant, France)
Guillaume Mainguet (Produire au Sud – Festival des trois Continents de Nantes, France)
Eric Mabillon (Producer and Management Consultant, France)
Fabio Grassadonia and Antonio Piazza (Mimis, Italy), thanks to the new collaboration with the TorinoFilmLab
Dominique Welinski (DW, France)