2010 Bermuda International Film Festival Theme
Bermudians generally love documentaries. In 2010, they will have a real treat of great documentaries, particularly around African theme at the Bermuda International Film Festival (BIFF) scheduled in March (19 - 25). For the first time in the 13 year history of BIFF, there will be something like a festival within the overall BIFF festival where African themed documentaries will be shown. This will take the total count of films in 2010 to over 100 compared to 70 in 2009.
So how did the African theme enter the BIFF in 2010?
Festival director Aideen Ratteray Pryse, coincidentally met with a professor of African and Afro-American Studies and Theatre and Media Studies, Niyi Coker.
Coker proposed to include the African documentaries as part of the 2010 BIFF. The festival organizers were already discussing an African theme for various reasons, perhaps the most important of that was the recent boom in filmmaking in Nigeria, called by its countrymen as Nollywood.
The director of BIFF mentioned: "There is always a lot of chatter in Bermuda about our ancestry and our roots and modern Africa is quite a different entity and that's another reason we thought it would be a good idea to bring to Bermuda, to the big screen, films that have a far more modern take. They give you an understanding of modern Africa and how things are today."
"The line up doesn't just feature films out of Africa but also films about Africa by people who have left. Some 33 films, coming out of Congo, South Africa, Gambia, Ethiopia, Cameroon, Ivory Coast and Nigeria, cover a broad range of topics and include a mix of shorts and feature length documentaries."
The festival includes some hard-to-swallow issues, most notably perhaps the tradition of female genital mutilation in Cutting Tradition narrated by actress Meryl Streep. Another film called Street Ball tells of South Africa's 2008 homeless World Cup team. Teams from 56 countries make up the football competition which is made up entirely of street people.
Haitian writer, Edwidge Danticat narrates Tato Mitan, Haitian Women - Pillars of the Global Economy, while Nigerian film Sweet Crude explores the environmental consequences of oil drilling in Niger Delta over the last fifty years.
The African documentaries have focus on various subjects including political issues, health issues, environmental issues, culture and sports. There's a film My White Baby where the legacy of European colonialism in Africa is evoked through images of women practicing hair braiding on discarded white baby dolls from the West.
"The purpose of the film festival is the promotion of the knowledge, life and culture of the people of Africa worldwide." Ms. Ratteray Pryse explained.
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