By Ariadne Sawyer, The Afro News film reporter.
Once again, I am honoured to be writing these previews for Tan the Afro News and the Vancouver International Film Festival September 27 – October 12, 2012.
Congratulations to VIFF for bring four powerful African content films for the upcoming festival!
To find dates, locations and ticket information go to www.viff.org
Beware of Mr. Baker
92 minutes, USA. Director Jay Bulger. Credits: Director
Jay Bulger Producers: Andrew Karsch, Fisher Stevens and Erik Gordon. Executive Producers:
Tony Palmer, Julie Goldman. Writer: Jay Bulger. Cinematographer: Eric Robbins. Editor:
A fascinating rollercoaster film about the life of the legendary rock n roll drummer Ginger Baker, his love affair with the drums and his trusting relationship with animals; horses and dogs on his gated ranch in Africa.
One of the outstanding features of the film is the intersection of illustrations depicting his life, which then switch to comments about him by well known musicians in the rock and roll world. Baker comes across as an eccentric, irritable and somewhat violent musician with a wry sense of humour, trying to go straight and influenced by African music which shaped his life. Ginger Baker was supposedly the first rock and roll musician to do a complete drum solo.
Beware of Mr. Baker is a good film for those who love rock and roll and are fascinated by the character of this drumming great.
93 minutes, Denmark, Director Mads Brugger.
World Sales: TrustNordiskProduction company: Zentropa Real. Screenwriters: Mads Brugger, Maja Jul Larsen. Producers: Carsten Holst, Peter Engel. Executive producers: Peter Baalbek Jensen, Peter Garde. Co-producers: Petri Rossi, Peter de Maegd, Madeleine Elman. Director of photography: Johan Stahl Winthereik Music: Niklas Schak, Tin Soheili Editors: Carsten Sorted, Kimmo Taavila, Leif Axel Kjeldsen.
The film is a partly believable, tongue in cheek story of greed, curiosity, corruption and people manipulation is set in Central Africa. The character played by director Mads Brugger, buys fake diplomatic papers and as a diplomat claims to build a match making factory for nearby pygmies as an excuse for what he really wants to do which is to take thousands of diamonds out if the country illegally. He “worms” his way into friendships with African heads of state, businessmen and other powerful people. Brugger then becomes the part he is playing and has to keep it altogether as things start to fall apart around him. It seems like a gigantic joke had been played on all and with the exception of the pygmies, it was well deserved. Despite controversy, it is an interesting and courageous film providing much discussion.
85 minutes, Belgium, Franca, DR Congo. Director: Marc-Henri Wajnberg. Screenplay Marc-Henri Wajnberg. Cinematography Danny Elsen, Colin Houben. Editing: Marie-Hélène Dozo .Music Bebson “de la rue” and the Trionyx. The Diable Aza Te: Sound Luc Cuveele, Marc Engels, Cyril Mossé. Cast :José Mawanda, Rachel Mwanza, Emmanuel FakokoBebson “de la rue” Elemba, Gabi Bolenge, Gauthier KilokoJoël Eziegue, Mickaël Fataki, Samy Molebe, Papa WembaJoséphine Nsimba Mpongo, Django Abdul Bampu SumbuJean Shaka Tshipamba, Emmanuel E. M. Ndosi El Bas. Producer Marc-Henri Wajnberg, Serge Guez Peter Krüger, Georges Abranches, Riva Kalimazi .Production Wajnbrosse Productions, Inti Films, Crescendo Films.
This heart moving film in follows the story of one of the “witch children “from Kinshasa, Congo who had to flee to escape accusations at home. Taken in by a small band of street children, some of the estimated 30,000 that live on the street, he has a marginal existence. The children have hopes for the future and wish to make a better world for themselves through the creation of a music band and the help of a rapper, impresario along with adult members of an adult band. The film shows their desire to change and a way to make it happen through music and the help of others. This is an inspirational film which shows that despite poverty, slums and abuse, the human spirit finds a way to create.
Griot; 82 minutes Senegal, USA, France /Germany.
This beautiful film has an impressive list of filmmakers including:
Volker Goetze. Producer/Director. Award-winning musician, composer and producer
Victor Kanefsky. Co-Director/Editor Sam Pollard. Co-Producer/Post-production Supervisor. Multiple Emmy Award winning, Peabody Award winning and Academy Award Nominated producer and editor, Leslie Mulkey (a.k.a. Holcomb Reed) Sanne Kurz and Joshue Ott.
A film that provides a visual feast full of beautiful images and lovely music as well as a human interest story showing the changes between the past and the present and the possibility of a combined future. The Griots are the keepers of oral wisdom, history and ancient traditions. Through the joint mediums of exquisite images and music, the film explores the changes that are now happening in the life of the West African Senegalese Griot song writer Ablaye Cissoko and the challenges facing this honoured tradition. He leads us through the necessity of maintaining the respect and honoured traditions of the past while at the same time, engaging the international community and world music. The Griot way of life is in good hands with Ablaye Cissoko.