Africa Film WebMeeting

Message from: ZIMREVIEW (
About: Lucky dog

Sat, 5 Oct 1996 12:53:31 -0400

Originally from: ZIMREVIEW <>
Originally dated: Sat, 5 Oct 1996 12:53:31 -0400

If only! The films started being shown on Friday but the programme was
printed in Saturday's paper and I spent some time carefully working out
films I would be able to see. I particularly wanted to see the Burkina Fasso
films and the other West African films (I still have that weird feeling that
West Africa is the mother of Bantu-speaking Africa and I gobble up whatever
bits of knowledge I can accumulate about it). I negotiated Sunday pleasantly
enough with Cri du Coeur and Au Nom de Dieu and set off
to town on Monday to see one of the USA films. But the whole programme had
completely changed and only Zimbabwean films were being shown! It was
annoying but the manager of the cinema said it was the fault of the
organizers, not him, so I rushed off to their office to find a complete
shambles. Not only did they not apologize, they actually told me that
film producers will not allow their films to travel alone. Because a certain
producer hadn't turned up, neither would the films.

I explained that I had the magazine's interests at heart and asked what kind
of a review they thought they'd get? The answer was that I should ring their
office the next morning to find out what films were being shown that day!
Well I'm a busy woman and this kind of arrangement is not only insulting to
but to the cinema goers in general. The next day another wrong programme
appeared in the newspaper. BUT I happened to be interviewed by a young Dutch
woman in a local hotel that was full of exotic Francophone foreigners whom,
she told me, were guests of the Film Festival. And a handout was available
in the hotel curio shop telling participants precisely what was being shown!

What is particularly irritating is that a festival of such importance which
has as much to offer Africans is handled as an in-house jamboree for invited
and sponsored guests to the exclusion of locals. The young manager of the
cinema was tearing out his hair. He said that he couldn't imagine an event
worse organized.

At this particular cinema (as at all the others), films that are advertised
the press appear on the screen as planned. But we have had three African
film festivals and each one has been a shambles, not because there are no
local black professional organizational skills but because these get
sidelined by donors with pet clients...

So -- lucky dog, no. Frustrated movie-goer, yes.
Carole Pearce
The Zimbabwean Review
(Internet address:
Carole and I discussed that maybe such criticism shouldn't be aired on an
open forum like this, but I encouraged her to allow me to post this. I was
there only a fraction of the time, but saw the same situation on several
occasions. We both applaud the organizers and the much good work done, but
feel that it is important to provide this feedback for future festivals.
The confusion over changing times and venues for shows resulted in upset
viewers turned away, and ultimately fewer viewers. Contradicting one of the
main reasons for the festival. I attended Guimba, only to see 18 paying
audience - pretty disappointing for last year's FESPACO winner.
Also one or two (I couldn't ever find out if it was one or two) of the
three programs that I submitted to the festival never made it into the
shows, and no one could tell me why. That was disconcerting. I look
forward to more SAFFs in the future, and I offer this posting in the hopes
that it makes a positive contribution to improvements.
Steve Smith, moderator

You may post a follow-up message or a new message. To send a reply directly to the author, you may click on the email address above.

If you would like to submit a message using your own mail program, send it to:

If you are following up this article, please include the following line at the beginning of your message:
In-Reply-To: 199610051653.MAA12840@dag.XC.Org