Inaugural Africa Film Fest Australia showcases new films from across the continent

Discover diverse African cinema at the inaugural Africa Film Fest Australia in Parramatta.
Ratidzo Mambo in So Much Smoke. Image: Africa Film Fest Australia.

Africa Film Fest Australia is an upcoming three-day festival designed to showcase a diverse program of films from all over Africa, hosted exclusively in Parramatta.

Run by Arts & Cultural Exchange (ACE) and a team of African-Australian curators, the festival takes place from 19 to 21 July at Riverside Theatres (Parramatta), and includes a lineup of seven feature films, three of which are Australian premiers.  

A special guest appearance will be made by Seirat Hulu, an acclaimed Ethiopian-American animator from Pixar’s SparkShorts program, who is flying in all the way from California to share insights on the making of her stop-motion animated short Self. 

The festival will be hosted at Riverside Theatres and supported by Screen NSW, City of Parramatta,  Multicultural NSW and WeirAnderson Films.

‘We are delighted to present an unforgettable program at this year’s Africa Film Fest Australia’, said Festival Co-Director Safia Amadou. ‘Curating this lineup has been a true labour of love. African filmmakers have so much to offer and we made sure to showcase their rich storytelling in the diverse selection of films. We have seven feature films, three of which are premiering in Australia. With films coming from Senegal, Mali, Kenya, Algeria plus more, there is a lot to be excited about.’

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Africa Film Fest Australia: Opening Night

The festival will kick off with the Australian premiere of Rise: Siya Kolisi Story. This documentary chronicles the journey of Siya Kolisi, the first Black captain of the South African national rugby union team, detailing his rise from a challenging upbringing to international stardom. Before the film screening, there will be a performance of the Kora, played by Malin Sylla, and a serving of traditional African drinks.

Feature films

Still from The Last Queen. Image supplied by Africa Film Fest Australia.

The festival lineup includes a variety of feature films that highlight diverse narratives of African filmmakers:

  • After The Long Rains – Australian premiere – A story of a young girl named Aisha, who dreams of becoming an actress and overcoming gender norms in her community.
  • Girl – A touching tale of eleven-year-old Ama and her mother Grace, exploring themes of growth, memory, and the need to face the past.
  • Colette and Justin – Australian premiere – Alain Kassanda’s debut film, offering a deep dive into his grandparents’ lives and postcolonial DR Congo’s history.
  • All the Colours Are Between Black and White – A tender love story set against the backdrop of Nigeria’s anti-gay laws and winner of the Teddy Award for best queer film at Berlinale.
  • Banel and Adama – A tale of young love and cultural conflict set in a remote Senegalese village.
  • The Last Queen – Australia premiere – A historical epic about Queen Zaphira of Algeria, who stands up to the pirate Aruj Barbarossa.

Special Events

Umoja Short Films & Q&A Session: The screening of a collection of short films from Africa, France, and Australia, followed by an engaging Q&A session with local and international filmmakers.

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Afrofutures Animation – Western Sydney Screening and Workshop: A creative workshop and screening session exploring the growing genre of African animation, facilitated by Nigerian-Australian animator Edi Udo and Jamaican-Australian Rubeena King. Special guest Seirat Hulu, Ethiopian-American writer/director from Pixar’s SparkShorts program, will present the making of Self, a stop-motion animated short at Arts & Cultural Exchange Parramatta.

Black Diasporas: In collaboration with Africa Film Fest Australia, the program will feature screenings of short films by filmmakers from the  Black Diasporas Naarm-Melbourne. This project uses oral narratives to document and celebrate the experiences and places significant to Australians from across the African diaspora.

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Silvi Vann-Wall is a journalist, podcaster, and filmmaker. They joined ScreenHub as Film Content Lead in 2022. Twitter: @SilviReports