All the good stuff that happened at Tarifa-Tangier’s African Film Festival 2018

On 5 May, the 15th edition of the Festival de Cine Africano (FCAT) of Tarifa-Tangier concluded its seven-day tour of African cinematography, where Spanish and European Afro-descendants have had great weight.

Also called African Film Festival, FCAT is an independent film festival of competitive nature organized by Al Tarab, a non-profit association. FCAT focuses its efforts on the promotion and dissemination of the cinematographies of the African continent and the non-African Arab world in Spain and Latin America. The festival aims is to help a better understanding among the peoples and make a positive contribution to the development of culture and the African film industry.

The Minister of Culture, Miguel Ángel Vázquez, expressed in his speech at the gala the recognition and support for the African Film Festival from the institution he chairs, stressing that the FCAT is “a cultural bridge of extraordinary value for the exchange of ideas, values ​​and an opportunity to get to know each other better”.

The Zambian film I’m not a witch, directed by Rungano Nyoni, opened the festival on 27 April with several fiction feature films later bringing to the screen, histories very close to the reality of Africa and its inhabitants.

Still from Zambian film ‘I’m not a witch’. Courtesy: FCAT/Flickr

The official jury of the 15th edition of the FCAT, composed of filmmakers and programmers. Three women and two men chose films awarded in this edition: Senegalese director Angèle Diabang, the North American Tala Hadid, in addition to the independent filmmaker, programmer and writer established in Berlin Dorothee Wenner joined Burkinabe and artistic director of the Afrikamera festival (Berlin), Alex Moussa Sawadogo and the Spanish programmer, writer and filmmaker Luis E. Parés. The official jury was responsible for deciding, out of six awards, the award for Best Fiction Feature Film, Best Documentary and Best Actress in the Hyperopia section—the latter prize is sponsored by the Women for Africa Foundation.

The CineCádiz jury, made up of actors, actresses and directors of the association of the same name, decided the Best Short Film Award of the Section, while spectators of the FCAT voted for the Audience Award for the Best Feature Film of Hyperopia. Finally, the CinePalium Festival (Italy) awarded an honorary prize for the Best Feature Film of Hyperopia.

FCAT 2018. Courtesy: FCAT/Flickr

The winning film of FCAT 2018 was Poisonous Roses, by Ahmed Fawzi Saleh (Egypt, France, Qatar, United Arab Emirates) which was highlighted for its innovation and originality. According to the jury, the best fiction feature film winner offered an impressive look into the world of the working classes in the tanneries of Cairo.

For the first time, the FCAT awarded a child act0r – 9-year-old Maggie Mulumbwa – for her exciting role as a girl interned in one of the witch fields that still exists in some African countries in the movie I Am Not A Witch by Rungano Nyoni.

Best Documentary went to Boxing Libreville by Amédée Pacôme (Gabon, France, Belgium), a documentary that shows rebellion in the street in search of democracy awarded “for the proximity of the main character and the way he follows him in his daily microcosm, getting him out of his confinement and express how he struggles to achieve a dream ”

Uncertain Future by Eddy Munyaneza (Burundi, France, Belgium) recorded a special mention as the jury decided to recognise this documentary that had its world premiere in the FCAT and that, again, delves into the political activism of the director’s country. The director, highlighted by the jury for his strength, courage and commitment level, spoke at the festival about the responsibility that filmmakers have to show what really happens in their countries.

The Audience award for best film went to Beauty and Dogs by Kaouther Ben Hania (Tunisia, France, Sweden, Norway, Lebanon, Qatar, Switzerland), a story based on real events which narrates almost in real time the calvary of a young girl. With its feminist and political message, this fiction delivers a timely reflection on one of the current issues in many countries: the visibility of victims of rape. And the jury of Cinecádiz, in charge of awarding the Best Short Film, opted for The Cinema Entrance, a Moroccan short film by Ayoub Layoussifi (Morocco, France) about a boy who dies of wanting to go to the cinema.

The delegate of culture of the Diputación de Cádiz, Salvador Puerto, at the festival, had the opportunity to address students from various schools in the province of Cádiz. “This festival teaches us that we are not so different from the people of the neighboring continent: we are worried about the same things, we have the same fears and the same concerns,” said Puerto. “I hope you take this opportunity and enjoy the experience so that next year you return.”