Films are often described as cultural artifacts created by specific cultures, which reflect those cultures, and, in turn, affect them. Film is considered to be an important art form, a source of popular entertainment and a powerful method for educating citizens. The visual elements of cinema give motion pictures a universal power of communication. Music maybe the main draw at the Bayimba International Festival of the Arts, however, those with a cinematic palate will enjoy the African and music-themed films on offer at the festival. This celebration of fine African cinema has been made possible by our partners Maisha Film Lab (www.maishafilmlab.org) and Amakula Kampala International Film Festival (www.amakula.com).
Fishing: the Little Stone (Uganda, 100min); Friday 3pm Green Room
Fishing: the Little Stone is a story about the hierarchy of thieves in Kampala. It follows Nankya (Essence Kasozi), a divorced mother estranged from her conman ex-husband Hood (Dick Kitamirike) and daughter. She is a con woman and petty thief who steals from well-to-do men in the city to sustain her life in the ghetto. She steals from Smart, (Eddie Masanso) another con artist, who befriends her and recruits her into a gang of thieves. Together they plan to steal a valuable stone from a wealthy individual. The gang of four men and one woman execute their crime but things start to go wrong as they attempt to con each other to take the loot. Nankya’s daughter is kidnapped in the process and she has to outwit her accomplices to save herself and her daughter.
St. Louis Blues (Senegal, 48min, Friday 8pm Green Room
This film is a lively musical road trip that takes place on a journey from Dakar to Saint Louis. It is a spiritual journey through sub-Saharan Africa and a musical one through the French cinematic musical of the 50s and 60s. At a taxi stop in the capital, Dakar, people gather and wait for the battered old Peugeot station wagon to depart. The taxi won’t leave until the driver finds a seventh passenger. As they wait, one woman breaks into song, and suddenly an impromptu musical number begins, right there in the dusty parking lot. And this is not the music you might expect on a Senegalese road trip.
Mwamba Ngoma (Tanzania, 71min) Saturday 3pm Auditorium
A panorama of Tanzanian music history and industry, Mwamba Ngoma looks at the role of communication in social change within the context of a project that harnesses the entertainment value of music to serve social purpose. There was no “music” in pre-colonial Tanzania. There was “Ngoma”: a harvest ngoma, another to raise the evil spirits. No matter the ceremony, whatever the cause, Ngoma set the beat, involving people in tradition and message. To this day, Ngoma is all about involvement, about joining rather than watching. Spectator and performer become one, and the drum beats on.
Fair Play (Uganda 120min), Saturday 5pm Auditorium
The election season and the Electoral Commission’s call to civic duty are the gist of Cindy Evelyn Magara film Fair Play. A football team has to contend with the giving away of their pitch to an investor. There are reasons to blame it on the politics. One of their counsellors is involved and when he takes sides in the matter, these footballers go forth to seek justice. After several deliberations and efforts to try and lobby for a hearing from the sitting council, they are disappointed at almost every turn.
From A Whisper (Kenya 79min), Sunday 3pm Auditorium
Abu is a quiet and hardworking intelligence officer who keeps to himself. When he meets Tamani, a young, rebellious artist in search of her mother, he decides to help. Unknowingly, Tamani churns up memories of Fareed, Abu’s best friend who also lost his life in the US Embassy bomb blast 10 years ago. The discovery about the death of Tamani’s mother, forces everyone involved to learn how to forgive, deal with their own faith and confront what they fear the most – the truth. From A Whisper, features a soundtrack by Eric Wainaina. The film is based on the real events surrounding the August 7 bombings on the US Embassy in Nairobi in 1998.
Samba Traore (Burkina Faso 85min), Sunday 4pm Green Room
This is the story of a man who robs a gas station in the city and returns to his village with the money. Samba is an engaging and very human character. He has nightmares because of his crime, but he also wants to use the stolen money to make life better in his village. Samba returns to meet Saratou, a girl he loved years before. She had also been to the city, and while she was there she had a son but did not marry the child’s father. Samba marries Saratou anyway, and she soon falls pregnant and has Samba’s son. In the end, it is her first child’s father who jealously betrays Samba to the cops.
Lumumba (Haiti/DRC 115min), Sunday 6pm Green Room
Made in the tradition of such true-life political thrillers as Malcom X and JFK, Raoul Peck’s award-winning Lumumba is a gripping epic that dramatizes for the first time the rise and fall of legendary African leader Patrice Lumumba. When the Congo declared its independence from Belgium in 1960, the 36-year-old, self-educated Lumumba became the first Prime Minister of the newly independent state. Called “the politico of the bush” by journalists of the day, he became a lightning rod of Cold War politics as his vision of a united Africa gained him powerful enemies in Belgium and the U.S. Lumumba would last just months in office before being brutally assassinated. Strikingly photographed in Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Belgium as civil war once again raged in the Congo, the film vividly re-creates the shocking events behind the birth of the country that became Zaire during the reign of Lumumba’s former friend and eventual nemesis, Joseph Mobutu.
*SMS the keyword “BAYIMBA’ to 6868 to win invites to the exclusive “Meet the Artistes” cocktail on the opening day of the festival. There will also be goodies to win for the duration of the festival.