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23 October to 1 November Glasgow & Edinburgh

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13 October 2015

AiM Interview | Short Film Competition 8th edition


For the 8th consecutive year, Africa in Motion is delighted to present its Short Film Competition, screening in Edinburgh and Glasgow.

With over 120 entries, we reached a record of submissions this year. The selection of 7 short-listed films was a difficult yet immensely rewarding task for the Africa in Motion Selection Committee:

We feel that every single film submitted showed heart, determination, and talent. What we have done is try to create an artwork of our own, using the films that we deem to best represent emerging filmmakers of Africa in a diverse and interesting programme.” – The Africa in Motion Short Film Competition Selection Committee

The winner of the Short Film Competition, chosen by our jury of acclaimed film practitioners and academics, will receive a cash prize of £500. An Audience Choice Award will also be awarded and announced at the end of the festival.

Which one of the short films will win your heart and your vote for the Audience Choice Award? To find out, join us for the screenings of the films in Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Before the screenings, we have asked the filmmakers to answer a few questions about their short films and their filmmaking practice. Read their compiled answers in our interview, and learn more about the films!


Question 1 – What audience did you make your short film for? Had you planned that it would reach wide audiences?

Maïmouna Doucouré (Maman(s)/Mothers, France/Senegal 2015)

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Maman(s) deals with the sensitive topic of polygamy. Young Aida’s life is turned upside down when her father comes back from Senegal with a second wife. The film explores her reactions and struggle in the face of her mother’s distress and the expansion of the family.

Even if my movie deals about a specific cultural subject: polygamy, the aim is larger than just a specific cultural subject. During a family drama, when parents are tearing along, we sometimes forget children. We don’t always communicate with them neither protect them from what happen. I really think that Mother(s) is a story which is universal and that’s why it could affect all the audiences.” (Maïmouna Doucouré, Sept 2015)

Kamal Lazraq (Moul Lkelb/The Man With a Dog, Morocco/France, 2014)Capture decran 2015 10 13 a 12.47.56

Youssef is known by his neighbours as “the man with a dog”. Devastated after he lost his dog and sole friend during an evening walk on the beach, he is determined to do anything he can to find it.

I made this film for it to be accessible to the greatest number of people. From the moment I started writing, I wanted to install a rapid and suspenseful pace, so that the viewer could embark on Youssef’s adventure. The structure of the film makes us discover, with the main character, a succession of places, faces, atmospheres, which I believe helps capturing the attention of the greatest number of people.” (Kamal Lazraq, Sept 2015)

Muzahura Wilberforce Musasizi (Trash Cash, Uganda, 2014)

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Kigozi John is a young homeless boy from Uganda whose only family are his friends. His day to day life creates a devastating yet endearing story about his struggles to work, look after his friends and ultimately to survive.

“Trash Cash was made for a general audience, there is no specific audience we targeted but wanted the world to know that there is one Kizito who lives his life by living on picking scrap rubbish from people’s homes (…). I had not thought and planned that Trash Cash would reach this far. The day I got you email (…) I could not hold it but to cry, because I really didn’t expect it to reach this far” (Muzahura Wilberforce Musasizi, Sept 2015).

Mohamed Kamel (Rabie Chetwy/Wintry Spring, Egypt, 2014)

Wintry Spring is the story of a young girl becoming a woman, with only her confused father to assist her. The film implements a clever use of visual metaphors in conveying a sense of growth throughout the story.Capture decran 2015 10 13 a 12.52.24

I always believe that each story to be told has its own audience to listen (…) the measure here always depends on the essence of the story itself and how far it can find a common ground between the filmmaker and the audience themselves, and for me as a filmmaker there are certain aspects in the story that always keep me interested and motivated in telling it and these elements are basically putting the common human aspects and emotions that we all share as primal priority in developing the story (…).

Everyone can find something related to the story and its characters even if he/she doesn’t understand the language or lives faraway in any part of this huge world.” (Mohamed Kamel, Sept 2015)

Shameelah Khan (Women in the Dark, South Africa, 2014)

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By asking questions from her mother and grandmother on marriage and sexuality, the filmmaker is looking to shape her own identity and sexuality as a young South African Muslim woman.

The documentary was intentionally made for women. I had in mind, the young adult (represented by me), the middle aged woman (my mum) and the older woman (my gran). Generally, anyone can enjoy this film, in fact, males, especially those who have struggles in their marriage or are experiencing a divorce, have taken a liking to the film. The film also appeals to teenagers who are experiencing a difficulty in their sense of selves or a navigation in their sexuality.

Lastly, I think I made this for the world- an intimate understanding of the Muslim women that are often labelled as being a certain way. I wanted the world to see that we, Muslim women, hurt and cry too, just as any other.” (Shameelah Khan, Sept 2015).

Yasser Shafiey (Helm el Mash-had/The Dream of a Scene, Egypt, 2014)

Yasser, a young Egyptian filmmaker, is running auditions for the role of a girl who defies social conventions by shaving off her hair. The project is about to fall apart when Mariam, the assistant director, decides to take on the role.

I did it [the film] to express myself first as a director, seeing the freedom in another way – trying to talk about women in my society. Not only women, but also everyone has a choice. I didn't really have a plan, just doing my work with trueness and sincerity.” (Yasser Shafiey, Sept 2015)

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Question 2 – Why did you choose the short film format to tell your story? Would you have wanted it to be a feature film, or do you plan on making this story into a feature film later on?

Maïmouna Doucouré (Mother(s)): “Mother(s) is my first movie, I mean first professional movie. First of all, I think that the short-movie format is very interesting and also very rewarding. It was a challenge to tell a story in only twenty minutes and that’s why I really enjoy achieving this challenge. Moreover, my aim is to realize a long-movie on a similar subject and I think that is essential to start by a short-movie instead of begin by a long-movie. This, especially to convince a producer to help me to develop my project toward a long-movie.”

Kamal Lazraq (The Man With a Dog):I wrote this scenario very quickly, in order to shoot it very quickly, with energy, with an almost documentary-like approach. The short format, for me, allows more freedom and fluidity, and for that reason it seemed to me to be the most appropriate format. The topic of the film and the material offered by the city of Casablanca could easily be treated in a feature film format, but it is not my intentions for now.”

Muzahura Wilberforce Musasizi (Trash Cash):We chose a short film format because we were limited by funds and resources to make a feature and yet we wanted to tell Kizito’s story in the best way possible. Kizito is just one out of the many who go through child abuse by step parents and never get out to tell their story because of fear. We plan to make a feature out of it, at the moment we are looking for funds and resources to be able to shoot this story and other stories into a feature.”Capture decran 2015 10 13 a 13.18.53

Mohamed Kamel (Wintry Spring):Michelangelo used to say that “Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it”. That means that each character in each story holds within themselves the seeds of how they want their story to be told and the job of the filmmaker is to listen carefully (not to judge) the characters of his story and look for the best form to tell their story (…) for me if I picked a certain form that I believe it’s the best way to tell my story it means that there’s no other form that can represent my point of view better than the one I’ve already chosen.”

Shameelah Khan (Women in the Dark): “At first, the film was ten minutes, and then I later added another five. I don’t think that this film wants to be a feature film, even if I wanted it to be that. Sometimes, our films take on a format all on its own. When it comes to my film specifically, I think I had in mind a momentary experience of my mum and gran’s sexual life. Sometimes, dragging a film along, also allows for a loss in terms of its essence. Essentially, the film is a short experience of three women’s views on love, sex and life.

Yasser Shafiey (The Dream of a Scene):My choice to make this film as a short film depended on the details in the story and how many scenes I needed to reach to my idea by the shortest way. I could make the story into a feature film! Why not! But sure this situation will change a lot and give more space to see the characters and the society. But it was my choice to make it a short film only.”

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Question 3 – As part of the competition, and in addition to the overall winner selected by the jury, an Audience Choice Award will be also attributed. Why do you think the audience should vote for your film?

Maïmouna Doucouré (Mother(s)): “I think the public can easily identify with the characters and feel their emotions."

Kamal Lazraq (Man With a Dog): "I tried to make a film that would be sincere, accessible, free, shot with non-professional actors, in natural settings. It tells a human story, even though it reveals at the same time a dark aspect of the city of Casablanca."

Muzahura Wilberforce Musasizi (Trash Cash):I think the audience should vote for my film because we represent one soul, one dream, one voice, one person whose voice is being silenced, dream killed and destroyed. We are out there to help stop child abuse and allow children be a part of decision making in the family rather than the adults alone.”

Mohamed Kamel (Wintry Spring):Voting for the film from the audience is an honour and always a great encouragement for me and the rest of my film crew to keep us always motivated and enthusiast for finding a new story to tell”.

Shameelah Khan (Women in the Dark):I feel that often when people watch my film, there is a moment taken anywhere along the film, and you seize it, no matter race, class or gender. (…) It is also a very personal film which invites many people into a somewhat painful conversation I haven’t always wanted to have with myself. Perhaps it will do that for whoever felt they had no sexual voice.”

Yasser Shafiey (The Dream of a Scene):Because they will cry sometimes in some scenes from their hearts and will laugh too. I think I can reach them (…) and I hope the audience love it … please give them my regards.”

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Join us for the screenings of the films in Edinburgh and Glasgow and vote for your favourite film to help it win the Audience Choice Award!

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