PAFF (Pan African Film Festival) and Youtube have worked together to give emerging African filmmakers and writers the chance to create their own motion picture and tell their story.
In the 21st century Africa is a growing dynamic continent. African innovation, entrepreneurialism, music, fashion, art and a new generation of creative talents and innovators are increasingly making their mark on the world stage. Africa is a youthful and optimistic continent of 54 large different countries with diverse cultures and people. It is a continent with enormous opportunities that is quickly accelerating and changing. And yet, the progress and opportunity emerging from Africa remain a story largely unknown to many outside the continent. Africa is too often seen as a poor, underdeveloped country as we are used to seeing in any movie, short movie or documentary about the “motherland” in which images of poverty, disease, famine, corruption, armed conflict, and genocide influence the global consciousness. In fact, according to a 2019 landmark study conducted by the Norman Lear Center, mentions of Africa and Africans appear infrequently in US news and entertainment, and when they do, they’re often negative and stereotyped, and this has misled the American and European population for years.
The "iamAFRICA" Short Film Competition is a collaborative initiative between the Pan African Film Festival (PAFF), The Africa Narrative at the University of Southern California Norman Lear Center, and YouTube.
The main goal of this initiative is to engage african content creators to shoot and direct shot films, in order to open American and international audiences’ minds, freeing them from the mainstream consciousness that comes from the widely spread and distorted media narratives of Africa, mostly shaped by non-Africans. YouTube’s global platform has empowered content creators on the continent to revolutionize and expand the possibilities of video storytelling while reflecting a truer and more balanced perspective of the region.
Here are this year Jury awarded winners:
Directed by Mpendulo Troy Ngobese
It’s a touching love story between two unlikely lovers, too young and shy to approach each other, until they find out that blowing an eyelash makes your wishes come true. It lasts less than 15 minutes, and yet it’s amazing how you feel connected to the story. It’s clearly low-budget, but this hasn’t stopped the director from wrapping a wonderful short love story, set in South Africa
Directed by Nick Wambugu
This Short film would seem at first like a television ad from Nike, but it’s actually very touching and well made. It’s about a group of runaways in the city of Nairobi, where they learn how to dance and make it a living. So they perform every night as a group in front of clubs and bars, striving to succeed and make a better life for themselves, but everyone has a different backstory.
Written and directed by Bongi Ndaba
This story is about a struggling, depressed single mother, Sisonke, seeking for absolution. She travels for years, church by church, to seek for a miracle for her mysteriously disabled daughter. The quest goes on as she fights with guilt and desperation, hoping one day her daughter can be freed from the curse. This is probably the best short film running for the finals, as for the story, directing, cinematography and acting.