DIGITAL PRESSKIT To Repel Ghosts: Urban Tales from the African Continent


African Metropolis: Homecoming Written & Directed by Jim Chuchu Producers: Rebecca Chandler, Wanuri Kahui, Idil Ibrahim Executive Producer: Steven Markovitz Running Time: 10:30 min Language: English / Kiswahili; Subtitles: English

Fantasy, science fiction and infatuation fuse as an obsessed neighbour invents ever-stranger scenarios for wooing the girl of his dreams.

Nothing is what it seems as Max – a nerdy voyeur - turns fiction into truth and the mundane into the unexpected in his quest to get the attention of Alina - the girl next door. The city of is threatened with imminent extinction, and now is his chance to save her and verbalize his unspoken desire. However, a mysterious stranger stands in the way of his happiness. Will Max overcome his fear and save the girl? Is Alina looking for a hero? A quirky, light-hearted look at obsession and the desire to be seen.

Writer/Director – Jim Chuchu Image © Andrew Mungai Chuchu, based in the Kenyan capital Nairobi, is a creative all-rounder, photographer, director, musician, and video artist. Chuchu’s former band, , was part of an art collective, and for them he co-directed what became known as "'s first viral internet meme" starring the irrepressible Makmende. His current projects include a new album and a photography book set in post-apocalyptic .

Producer – Wanuri Kahui In 2008, Wanuri completed her first feature film From A Whisper based on the real life events surrounding the August 7, twin bombings of US Embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam in 1998. The film recently won awards at the Africa Movie including Best Director and Best Picture, the Golden Dhow award for Best East African Picture at Zanzibar International and Best Film at Kalasha, Kenya Film and TV awards. Shortly after she completed a documentary about the life of Nobel peace Prize laureate entitled For Our Land (2009) for M-Net ‘Great Africans’ Series.

She has recently completed a short Science Fiction Film Pumzi (2009) that was partially funded by Focus Features (part of NBC universal), Goethe Institut and Changa Moto Fund in Kenya. Pumzi recently won Best Short at Cannes Independent Film Festival, May 2010 and took Silver at Carthage Film Festival Tunisia, October 2010.

Producer – Idil Ibrahim A New York-based filmmaker, Idil has lived and worked extensively in East Africa. Recently, she directed the ‘Making Of’ documentary for the feature film Fishing Without Nets, filmed in Kenya, and based on the short film with the same title that won the Grand Jury Prize at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. Idil served as Associate Producer on the film Laredo, Texas, which was also an official selection of the 2010 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. She had a producing role on the film Trece Años, which also selected for the 2009 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, as well as the Aspen Shortsfest, GenArt, Los Angeles International and Ashland Independent Film Festivals. Trece Años was also featured at Pangaea Day, a global multimedia event simultaneously aired and broadcast in locations around the globe such as Kigali, Cairo, London, Rio de Janeiro and New York with the mission and purpose to decrease divisions and create change and global unity through the power of film. Idil was selected to participate in the Tribeca All Access program at the 2010 Tribeca Film Festival

African Metropolis: Berea Directed by Vincent Moloi Producer: Makgano Mamabolo Writers: Makgano Mamabolo, Lodi Matsetela Executive Producer: Steven Markovitz Running Time: 15:00 min Language: English

Supported by the Focus Features Africa First Short Film Program

Supported by Gauteng Film Commission

Alone in his high-rise apartment, Aaron Zukerman’s Berea is long-gone, but the old man has one last link to the here and now – a weekly visit from a beautiful stranger.

Long after his friends and family have moved on, Jewish pensioner Aaron Zukerman remains in his inner-city apartment, his world getting ever smaller and smaller, as the city closes in on his memories and happiness. His focus is on a weekly assignation with a kindly prostitute, for which he prepares days in advance. But when her unexpected replacement arrives one Friday, an initially angry response sparks a chain of events that ultimately changes the way the old man sees his world. A gentle, poetic ode to the power of reinvention.

Image © Jonathan Kovel

Director - Vincent Moloi Moloi, primarily a documentary filmmaker, but has directed different drama series for TV. He studied Media Studies before cutting his teeth at Soweto Community TV initiative. For the SABC he has made ground-breaking documentaries including A Pair of Boots and Bicycle, profiling black South African soldiers in WWII; Nightsweepers, an earnest examination of women sweeping the streets of Johannesburg at night; I am A Rebel about a South African author and Robben Island anti-apartheid prisoner turned anti-capitalist activist. With his African Metropolis inclusion Berea, he revisits themes of diminished power he first explored in Men of Gold, his 2007 documentary reflecting the contradictions of being poor, white, previously privileged and now disempowered in a post-apartheid world.

Writer/Producer – Makgano Mamabolo Makgano Mamabolo matriculated as a Drama student at the National School of the Arts and then went onto acquiring her Bachelor of Live Performance from AFDA in 2001. She has since been working as a professional actress for the past five years, having covered a spectrum of genres from presenting, to soapie, to sitcom, to drama, to film, as well as performing Miss Kwa Kwa, her one woman show for theatres country wide during all this time. She is not just an actress however, but moves comfortably from in front of the camera, to behind the scenes. Apart from having directed and produced television magazine show inserts for DSTV, she has for the past three years also been a Conceptualist for programmes such as Home Affairs, Mazinyo dot Q… spanning from drama to comedy, but more so a Writer, for programmes such as Fela’s TV and Nomzamo. She is now moving into the next progressive step in her career as a Creative Producer, with her first programme being SOCIETY, under Puo Pha Productions – a production company she is co-partner of.

Writer - Lodi Matsetela WRITER – PRODUCER – DIRECTOR – PARTNER AT PUO PHA PRODUCTIONS. Drama school matriculant, Advertising graduate, currently working towards her Masters in film at Howard University in Washington DC. Having worked mostly in television, she along with her production company are delving into the development of feature films.

African Metropolis: To Repel Ghosts Written & Directed by Philippe Lacôte Producer: Claire Gadéa Executive Producer: Steven Markovitz Running Time: 20:00 min Language: Nouchi / French; Subtitles: English

During a visit to Abidjan, French artist Jean-Michel Baquiat comes face to face with demons, ghosts, doubt - and his own death

On 12 August 1988, Jean-Michel Basquiat passed away. Nevertheless, his memory remains very much alive. This film pays homage to him by telling the unknown story of his trip to the Ivory Coast. Basquiat arrived in Abidjan at a time when he was exhausted. Haunted by his ghosts. All his hope lay in this first encounter with Africa…

Image © Delphine Jaquet Writer/Director – Philippe Lacôte Lacôte started his professional career as a radio reporter in 1989 with a series of podcasts on the fall of the Berlin wall. Short fiction films followed; The Messenger and Affaire Libinski were shown in several international festivals. Alongside these he developed documentary work including Cairo Hours, and the acclaimed Chronicles of War in the Ivory Coast. He is currently shooting his first feature film, Run, coproduced by Arte, which is the junction of his fiction and documentary approaches. Lacôte was part of the Cannes Film Festival’s Cinefondation programme.

Producer - Claire Gadéa Claire started her career at JBA Production with producer Jacques Bidou. As a production assistant, she worked on about ten feature films including One Evening After the War by Rithy Panh (Un Certain Regard, Cannes 1998), The Mutants by Teresa Villaverde (Quinzaine des Réalisateurs, Cannes 1998), April Captains by Maria de Medeiros (Un Certain Regard, Cannes 2000) and Lumumba by Raoul Peck (Quinzaine des Réalisateurs, Cannes 2000). In 2007, she joined Steamboat Films as a production manager. She is responsible for the ‘collection design’ for the Franco-German TV channel Arte, in co- production with the Centre Georges Pompidou (18 documentaries produced to date). In 2008, at Lobster Films, she created the VoD website Europa Film Treasures, with the support of the Media Programme of the European Union and in partnership with 30 European film archives. Since 2008, Claire Gadéa has been working at Banshee Films as a producer. She is currently producing Run, Philippe Lacôte’s first feature-length film, in partnership with Wassakara Productions, Diam Production, Arte France CInéma, Canal + Afrique, Onac-Ci, CNC, OIF, Bac Films.

African Metropolis Executive Producer

Steven Markovitz is one of Africa’s most pioneering producers, with 20 years’ experience on feature films, documentaries, short films, distribution and festivals. He has an extensive production and distribution network across Africa and has co-produced with over ten countries internationally. Steven co-founded the production company Big World Cinema in 1994 as well as Encounters South African International Documentary Festival in 1999.

Steven co-produced the thriller Viva Riva!, directed by Djo Tunda wa Munga, (Toronto 2010. Berlinale 2011), won the MTV Movie Award for Best African Movie, 2011 and a record 6 African Movie Academy Awards. Viva Riva! has been released in USA, UK, Australia/NZ, Canada, Belgium, France, Germany and 20 African countries.

Steven produced the award-winning South African-Canadian co-pro Proteus, directed by John Greyson and Jack Lewis (Toronto 2003, Berlin Panorama 2004). The film sold to 10 countries, including the USA, Canada, UK, Germany and Italy. Steven executive produced Boy Called Twist directed by Tim Greene, which sold to the USA, Belgium, Holland, Greece, South Africa and the Middle East.

Steven has produced, executive- and co-produced many short films, including Inja/Dog (Oscar nomination 2003), and Husk, In Competition, Cannes Film Festival (1999). Latitude, a series of nine fiction films from eight African countries including Wanuri Kahiu’s award-winning Kenyan science fiction short Pumzi (Sundance 2010). Steven executive-produced Beyond Freedom (Berlinale Competition 2006).

He has produced and co-produced over 50 documentaries, many have screened at festivals such as Sundance, Berlin, IDFA, Hotdocs, Tribeca and have sold to television worldwide.

He is currently producing films in Kenya, , DRC, Liberia, Malawi and South Africa.

About the African Metropolis Short Film Project

The African Metropolis project includes six short films set in six major African metropolitan centers. The Toronto International Film Festival presents the International premiere of three selected films from the series:

Berea Homecoming To Repel Ghosts

Johannesburg Nairobi Abidjan

Director: Vincent Moloi Director: Jim Chuchu Director: Philippe Lacôte


Peter Machen, Manager of Durban International Film Festival (DIFF), on the world premiere of the films that took place on 20/21 July 2013: “We are delighted to host the world premiere of the African Metropolis Short Film Project, which explores and promotes young directing talent from different capitals of the continent. This idea fits perfectly with our own goal of highlighting the emerging African film industry.”

Gertjan Zuilhof, International Programmer and Peter van Hoof, Head of Short Film Programme of International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR): "Big city films from African big cities is just what we have been waiting for. It is about time we move on from pre-colonial nostalgia. The best would be if this project could work as a model for the future. Many occasional film projects have been done in Africa - and also Rotterdam had its share in them - but continuation is what is needed. On to the next series should be the motto."

Kwaku Ananse Director: Akosua Adoma Owusu Writers: Akosua Adoma Owusu, Iram Parveen Bilal Producers: Lisa Cortés, Julio Chavesmontes Running Time: 26:00 min Language: Twi, Subtitles: English

Official Selection Berlinale, AMAA Winner for Best Short Film 2013

Supported by the Focus Features Africa First Short Film Program

Nyan Koronhwea returns to her father Kwaku Ananse's native Ghana for his funeral. They had long lost contact with each other. She has mixed feelings about her father’s double life with one family in Ghana and another in the . Overwhelmed by the funeral, she retreats to the spirit world in search for Kwaku Ananse. She carries her ambivalence with her into the forest, where she learns the ultimate truth about all human relationships.

Director - Akosua Adoma Owusu From Ghana, Akosua Adoma Owusu received an MFA from CalArts in 2008. One of ArtForum‘s Top Ten Artists, Owusu is informed by personal diaspora, history, and cultural representation. She has exhibited worldwide including at MoMA, The Studio in Harlem, Rotterdam Film Festival, Viennale, and London Film Festival. She has directed award-winning short films, including Drexciya and Me Broni Ba (My White Baby). Owusu participated in the Berlinale Talent Campus, Durban Talent Campus, and Produire au Sud. She has served on the jury and screening committees for Festival 3 Continents and AFI Silverdocs. She was a featured artist at the Robert Flaherty Film Seminar in 2010. Owusu is developing her first feature, Black Sunshine about a promiscuous Ghanaian hairdresser and her young albino daughter. The project was selected in Locarno Film Festival’s Open Doors in 2012 and received support by the Creative Capital Foundation that same year. She is also a recipient of the Art Matters Grant and the Africa First award sponsored by Focus Features.

Producer - Julio Chavezmontes Julio Chavezmontes (Mexico City, 1983) is a young Mexican film producer and screenwriter. In 2011 he partnered with Sebastian Hofmann to establish Piano, a creative studio dedicated to produce and develop cutting edge projects in all artistic disciplines. Films produced by Piano have been selected in Locarno, Sundance, Rotterdam, and the Berlinale, among other festivals. Julio has produced films in partnership with renowned producers Jaime Romandia (Japan, Alamar, 3 Silent Light); Michael Fitzgerald (The Pledge, The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada), and Lisa Cortes (Precious, Shadowboxer). Julio graduated with honors from the University of Chicago in 2005, and has an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Producer - Lisa Cortés Lisa Cortés is an Academy Award®–nominated Producer whose producing credits include Precious, The Woodsman, Tennessee and Shadowboxer. Prior to her film career, Cortés worked with Russell Simmons and Rick Rubin to launch the iconic Def Jam brand. She was Vice President of Artists and Repertoire at Mercury Records, where she signed and worked with many multiplatinum and Grammy® Award winning artists. She became the first African American woman to have her own label deal at a major record company when she founded and served as President of Loose Cannon Records, a subsidiary of Polygram Records. Cortés launched her own production company, Cortés Films, in 2010 and has several projects including Kwaku Ananse for Focus Features Africa First program and Happy Birthday To A Beautiful Woman by Mickalene Thomas.

Unogumbe – Noyes Fludde (Noah’s Flood) Director: Mark Dornford-May Writers: Original Opera by Benjamin Britten, adapted by Mark Dornford-May Producers: Mark Dornford-May, Mandisi Dyantyis, Pauline Malefane Executive Producer: Mike Downey Running time: 33:00 min Language: Xhosa, Subtitles: English

Unogumbe – Noyes Fludde (Noah’s Flood) is a one act opera written in 1957, with children in mind by Benjamin Britten. The sung text is based on an early 15th century mystery play from the Chester Mystery Cycle. The opera closely follows the traditional and much loved bible story. Unogumbe follows the original opera plot closely but moves the action from medieval England to a present-day South Africa, where the background and poverty of the township is a striking metaphor for man’s inhumanity to man. Unogumbe is sung in Xhosa, with subtitles in medieval English and completely rescored for African instruments. The radical change is that Noye is now a woman and has to deal with a drunken husband and hold her family together as well as build the Ark and collect the animals. The opera is a tale for children; however the threat of global warming and its consequences make the flood seem a closer reality, and maybe a fitting end for man if he continues to display inhumanity and a lack of care for the world.

Director – Mark Dornford-May Mark is co-founder and Artistic Director of Isango Ensemble. He has worked in South Africa with members of the company since 2000. Mark’s stage productions include The Mysteries – Yiimimangaliso, The Beggar's Opera - Ibali loo Tsotsi, Carmen, The Magic Flute – Impempe Yomlingo, Aesop’s Fables, The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists – Izigwili Ezidlakazelayo, and Christmas Carol – Ikrismas Kherol, which won the Whatsonstage Theatregoers’ Choice Award for Best Off-West End Production. The Magic Flute has since toured the world and won numerous awards including the 2008 Olivier Awards for Best Musical Revival and the Globes de Cristal for Best Opera in Paris. Mark's first feature film U-Carmen eKhayelitsha won the at the Berlin Film Festival. His second film, Son of Man, received the award for Best Feature at the LA Film Festival and the Founders Award presented by Michael Moore at the Traverse City Film Festival.