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AfrikaUK

AFRONAUTS Inspired by true events, Afronauts tells an alternative history of the 1960s Space Race. It’s the night of July 16th 1969 and, as America prepares to send Apollo 11 to the moon, a group of exiles in the Zambian desert are rushing to launch their rocket first. They train by rolling their astronaut, 17-year-old Matha Mwamba, down hills in barrels to simulate weightlessness. As the clock counts down to blast off, as the Bantu-7 Rocket looks more and more lopsided, Matha must decide if she’s willing to die to keep her family’s myths alive. Afronauts follows the scientific zeitgeist from the perspective of those who do not have access to it. Dir.: Frances Bodomo / Ghana: Afronauts, 2014 PUMZI 235 Pumzi, which is Kenya’s first science fiction film ever, takes place in a dystopian future 35 years after a third world war, the ‘Water War’, which has resulted in a worldwide ecological crisis. East African survivors are kept isolated in underground settlements, but Pumzi – a young woman – is in possession of a sprouting seed and works untiringly to free herself from isolation and bring the seed to the devastated surface of the Earth. The film – inspired by science fiction classics from the 1950ies – is questioning the ruthless exploitation of (African) natural ressources in an apocalyptic way. Dir.: Wanuri Kahiu / Kenya: Pumzi, 2009 JONAH Jonah is a short by Kibwe Tavares. It is set in Zanzibar and looks at the effects tourism can have on a country from an economic and environmental perspective. By utilising a narrative of friendship between Mbwana and his best friend Juma, these themes are explored. Mbwana and Juma are men with big dreams. Dreams that become a reality when they photograph ‘the world’s biggest jumping fish’ leaping out of the sea. Their tiny town soon blossoms into a tourist hot-spot as a result. But for Mbwana, the reality isn’t what he dreamed – when he meets the fish again, both of them forgotten, ruined and old, he decides only one of them can survive. The town becomes a money making, ‘wildly opportunistic’ beach town, which has abandoned its original fishing roots. Kibwe Tavares, Factory Fifteen   Productions / UK): Jonah, 2013


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