On Sunday 11th May 2014, the collaboration between DOK.Fest Munchen and IREPRESENT Documentary Film Festival Lagos convened an Africa Panel discussion at the 2014 Dok.Fest. The session included the films “Rwada, beyond the deadly pit” Concerning Violence” and “We were Rebels.”
[h3a] Africa Panel Synopsis: [/h3a]
“A question of perspective: documentary films from and about Africa!”
Our view on Africa is still shaped by the colonial past. Commercially attractive, meaning quick and negative news and stereotypical pictures and narratives have been surrounding us for decades. Yet the World is moving on and Africa is developing on a fast pace. Technological progress makes the world smaller, far away distances become closer. For example the sad and appalling abduction of 200 hundred girls in Nigeria’s North reached global publicity and solidarity through Facebook and Twitter during the last weeks.
In documentary filmmaking technology makes it possible today for young African filmmakers to pick up a camera to go out and shoot. You do not have to apply for funds at European institutions and TV stations to shoot a documentary film. An uninfluenced view is possible now.
Besides that, there is a growing demand among African filmmakers to finally determine the view about Africa by themselves: during a documentary filmmaking conference in South Africa 2011 the Documentary Network Africa was founded to promote African storytelling.
Now, what impact do these developments have for documentary filmmaking about Africa? What consequences and responsibilities do emerge from that if any? Is it necessary to be pedagogic? Is it a question of content? Can documentaries from young African filmmakers play a role in finally decolonizing the view on Africa ? What will be the ways in which we are capturing our intersecting realities and experiences between Africa and the West? What future for making films about Africa?
[h3a] Idea and aim of the iREP-DOK.fest cooperation: [/h3a]
With this collaboration we want to enter and engage in a mutual conversation on equal terms within different levels and on diverse topics: festival organizational team, filmmakers and the audience, about the concept of documentary film, film making, the role of documentary film for societies in Nigeria as well as in Germany, Africa and Europe, the perception of and the relation between each other. The range spreads out from exchanging ideas, learning from another and gaining different perspectives.
[h3a] About Dok.fest: [/h3a]
DOK.fest Munich, founded in 1985, is one of the most important and estab¬lished festivals in Europe for feature length creative documentaries, a “best-of”-festival, not obliged to show world premieres, but to reflect what may be – from a certain distance – regarded as the most interesting online gambeling creative documentaries of the year. Within the last years it became the second biggest documentary film festival in Germany. www.dokfest-muenchen.de
Here’s the information about the panelists:
[h4a] Bettina Kocher [/h4a]
is a social anthropologist and cultural manager, cofounder of the office for culture and media projects in1992 in Hamburg. Since 1995 she is managing director of the Television Workshop Development Politics – a consortium of organizations involved in development cooperation, intercultural education and in the field of film and television – regularly presenting current film and television productions, which reflect North-South issues, and organizing events and seminars in which the current debates about the media coverage of North-South issues are discussed. Since 2012 she’s working with EZEF, the Protestant Center for Film in Development Education, distributing films on North-South Issues in an educational context find more here.
[h4a] Gilbert Ndahayo [/h4a]
Studied history at the University in Kigali. But soon after in 2005 his passion for storytelling drove him to film. In 2008 he migrated to New York City where he started to study film at Columbia University. At the moment he’s working on his graduation film. Gilbert Ndahayo is the first Rwandan genocide survivor to make a personal film on the subject. His documentary Behind This Convent (2008) received Verona Award for Best African Film. With Rwanda: Beyond the Deadly Pit, he was also the first Rwandan nominated for the African Movie Academy Awards – the African Oscars – in 2012.
[h4a] Femi Odugbemi [/h4a]
Was trained in Film & TV Production at Montana State University, in the United States. He is an award-winning filmmaker, writer and photographer. And runs his own TV and film production company Dvworx Studios in Lagos, Nigeria producing TV commercials and documentaries. He has been President of the Independent Television Producers Association of Nigeria and is a member of the Documentary Network Africa. He is one of the founding directors of the yearly iREPRESENT International Documentary Film Festival in Lagos which aims to strengthen a documentary cinematic culture in Nigeria. He recently chaired the jury of the Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Award in Lagos.
[h4a] Steffen Weber [/h4a]
After getting a degree in philosophy he studied film at HFF here in Munich. Since 2001 he works as author and filmmaker. Today he is freelancer for the film production company Altmeier and Hornung in Hamburg which produces mainly investigative, journalistic documentaries mainly for public TV stations like SWR, NDR or ARTE. He did film projects around the world, but has a special interest in Africa. He lived more than a year in Tanzania and speaks fluently Kiswahili. He also was filming in Nigeria for a documentary about gas-flaring. He’s the filmmaker of Zurück in den Süden which will be shown after this discussion.
[h4a] Florian Schewe [/h4a]
He started studying sociology but soon realized his passion for film. From 2005 – 2011 he studied film at HFF Konrad Wolff in Potsdam-Babelsberg. He now works as freelance filmmaker, author and producer. Together with Katharina von Schröder he made the film ‘We Were Rebels’ and the related Online-Filmproject ‘The Two Sudans’. Just in April he won at the New Berlin Film Award the price for best documentary for his latest work: “Wiener Ecke Manteuffel” He also was involved in the 24hrs documentation about Jerusalem which was aired recently on ARTE.