African cinema is coming to Russia

Five films from South Africa, Angola, Kenya, and Tanzania are being screened in St. Petersburg, Russia, from July 28 to 30. The free screenings are part of the film festival “Africa. Together into the Future“.

From July 28 to 30, ROSKINO, with the support of the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation, is organizing African Film Days  in St. Petersburg—screenings of African films as part of “Africa. Together into the Future” film festival. The event is part of the second Russia–Africa Summit.

The ROSKINO screenings include some of the best films of recent years, which have been presented at many international film festivals and won a number of awards.

African Film Days  at the Aurora Cinema will open with a film from South Africa called 1960. This is a 2022 musical detective drama from directors Michael Mutombo and King Shaft. The film was named Best South African Feature Film at the 43rd Durban International Film Festival, Africa’s oldest and largest film festival. Michael Mutombo co-created the 2009 cult science fiction thriller District 9, which has over 30 wins and over 100 nominations at various international film festivals, including 4 Oscar nominations.

Kenya is represented by the drama Bangarang directed by Robin Odongo. The drama is about a poor driver who, after a disputed presidential election in Kenya and street riots, flees into exile for fear of being falsely accused of the death of a 6-month-old baby. The film won Best African Feature Film at the 43rd Durban International Film Festival and Best East African Film at the Uganda Film Festival; was nominated in three categories at the Kalasha Awards, an annual award presented by the Kenyan Film Commission; and also has a number of other awards. On July 28, director, Robin Odongo, will take part in the opening ceremony of African Film Days.

Also featured is the 2020 action drama Air Conditioner by Angolan director Mário Bastas. The film immerses viewers in the atmosphere of Luanda, transmitting its history, and people trying to rebuild their lives after the civil war. The film was presented in the competitive nominations of three festivals: the Saint Paul International Film Festival in Minneapolis (USA), the Friborg International Film Festival (Switzerland) and the Luxembourg Film Festival.

There are two films from Tanzania: the dramas Kijiji Changu (My Village) and Mwiga (Imitation), directed by Steven Lino. The 2019 film Kijiji Changu is a story about a love triangle and the disastrous consequences of a woman’s choice. The film received a number of awards, including the award for Best Actor at the American Golden Pictures International Film Festival. The film was also presented at the Pan-African International Film Festival, the Zanzibar International Film Festival (one of the largest African arts festivals), the RapidLion South African Film Festival and others. Stephen Lino’s new film, Mwiga, is about a young man trying to survive in difficult life circumstances.

African Film Days  are  also part of the  International Film Days  project, which ROSKINO has been implementing with the support of the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation. The project acquaints Russian audiences with modern films from Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and CIS. Screenings of Indian, Belarusian, and Iranian cinema have already been held in Moscow and the Uzbek  Film Days in St. Petersburg.