Year after year, African short filmmakers gain critical acclaim internationally, touching audiences with stories from across the continent. The Best of Africa’s Shorts brings you some of our favourite shorts from recent years. Three of these, Pumzi (2009), Mwansa the Great (2011) and Tinye So (2011) constitute a Film Africa 2011 Short Film Retrospective – all were selected for the Silver Baobab Award, with Mwansa the Great claiming the prize.
Our favourite short film of 2017 completes the programme. Beautifully shot and sensitive in its handling of the issues surrounding albinism, A Place For Myself premiered at the Zanzibar International Film Festival in 2016, winning three awards.
Director: Wanuri Kahiu, Kenya, 2009, 20 mins, English
One of the most celebrated films to come out of Africa in recent years, Pumzi is also one of the first African ‘sci-fi’ films. It is 35 years after World War III – The Water War. Africans are living in a climate-controlled museum and all of nature is extinct. Shot with a soft, surreal palette and with a mesmerising central performance, Pumzi’s eeriness is enhanced by Siddhartha Barnhoorn’s electronic compositions.
Mwansa the Great
Director: Rungano Nyoni, Zambia/UK, 2011, 23 min, English
Mwansa the Great tells the story of an eight-year-old boy who aspires to be a hero. This gracefully shot film is universal in its exploration of childhood and the power of the imagination and has collected several international awards.
Tinye So (The House of Truth)
Director: Daouda Coulibaly, Mali/France, 2011, 25 min, Bambara with Engish subtitles
Tinye So is a breathtaking cinematic poem about the wrath of ancestors, angered by how the Bambara belief systems in Mali are not respected by the new generation. Underscored by the music of composers Manjul and Ahmed Fofana, it won the Bronze Award in the Short Film Section at Fespaco 2011.
A Place For Myself
Director: Marie Clementine Dusabejambo, Rwanda, 2016, 21 mins, Kinyarwanda with English subtitles
A Place For Myself takes us into the world of Elikia, a young Rwandan girl suffering from albinism. When Elikia starts primary school, she endures discrimination and stigma as her classmates highlight her difference as a problem rather than a special trait.