Five Great Films to watch at Mashariki African Film Festival this Year

Posted By: Mutiganda wa Nkunda - On:02/03/2016
Only few days, counted on the fingertips to go for the Second edition of Mashariki African Film Festival which is kicking off from this Sunday, March 6th to Saturday March 12th in Kigali, Rwanda.

The totality of 42 films – feature narratives, documentaries and short films from across Africa – has been lined up for the local and international audience, and I’m pretty sure, there are great titles to never miss during this week.

Here is my list of five great titles that are slated to screen at the festival that you absolutely have not to miss with their attached screening program including dates and venues.


From the master of BAMAKO, here comes Abderrahmane Sissako’s masterpiece. The film collected numerous accolades across the world including the Best Foreign Language Academy Award Nomination for Mauritania in 2015 without forgetting its critical acclaim from critics as well as audience across the world.

The film will be screened at the opening of the festival and it will be screened with the director in absentia unfortunately, but the film’s main protagonist Ibrahim Ahmed will be present, and will even hold a Masterclass for acting during the festival.

The film is set during Mali’s brief occupation of Timbuktu, Mali by Ansar Dine.

Synopsis: A cattle herder and his family who reside in the dunes of Timbuktu find their quiet lives -- which are typically free of the Jihadists determined to control their faith -- abruptly disturbed. – IMDb



From the same master, as the festival will honor his works as well as his contribution to the African Cinema as the festival’s theme this year consists of exploring the role of cinema in uniting the black continent; Bamako will also screen at the festival.

This is another recommendable film to never miss, Bamako (2006) tells a story which is set in Bamako, a Malian largest city as well as the Capital city.

In Bamako, Melé is a bar singer, her husband Chaka is out of work and the couple is on the verge of breaking up... In the courtyard of the house they share with other families, a trial court has been set up. African civil society spokesmen have taken proceedings against the World Bank and the IMF whom they blame for Africa's woes... Amidst the pleas and the testimonies, life goes on in the courtyard. Chaka does not seem to be concerned by this novel Africa's desire to fight for its rights... –IMDb

The film is slated to screen on March 8, at 8PM at The Office, Kiyovu.


3. RUN

Here is another name from Ivory Coast. Premiered at Cannes film festival in Un Certain Regard Category in 2014, the Ivory Coast’s submission to the Best Foreign Language film Academy Award in 2015; but didn’t have enough chance to pass the voters’ verdict to run for the award which has gone in Hungary for the László Nemes’s acclaimed Holocaust drama ‘Son of Saul’ last Sunday. This Philippe Lacôte’s debut picture is a rare package that MAAFF brings to the Rwandan Audience.

The film tells a story of Run. He escapes... He just killed the Prime Minister of his country. In order to do so, he had to act as if he was a crazy man, wandering through the city. His life comes back by flashes; his childhood with Tourou when his dream was to become a rain miracle-worker, his adventures with Gladys the eater, and his past as a young member of militia, in the heart of the politic and military conflict in Ivory Coast. All those lives, Run didn't choose them. Every time, he felt in by running from another life. That's the reason why his name's Run.

The film will screen on March 7 at The Office Kiyovu, from 8PM.


4. Abaabi ba Boda Boda: The Boda Boda Thieves

The best picture that has come from the Wasajja’s country: Uganda in 2015. To be honest, the film should have been a Ugandan submission for The Best Foreign Language in Oscars last year if Uganda had an Oscar Committee.

Call it Abaabi ba Boda Boda in Luganda, Abajura ba Moto in Kinyarwanda or The Boda Boda Thieves in English. Donald Mugisha and James Tayler’s realistic picture, which has an open Quote, “Short Cut, Wrong Turn, Dead End” was inspired by Italian neo-realistic, Vittorio De Sica’s 1948 “Bicycle Thief” comes to Kigali.

This is one of the films which took a lot of [and enough] time in development, as my eyes met this name even before being translated into picture back in 2011 at Durban FilmMart. This film was along with Joel Karekezi’s Imbabazi: The Pardon, the film which toured the world two years before this sees the sun.

The film premiered at Berlinale last year, and met the critical acclaim from critics and audience, and won The African Oscars for Young Actor for Hassan 'Spike' Insingoma who plays the title character of Abel.

The Berlinale synopsis read: Abel is a young drifter whose existence is put to the test when an accident stops his father from being able to drive. All of a sudden, he gains full access to this freedom-representing vehicle. It’s a fantastic opportunity for him to escape his life’s predetermined plot, but it’s not without risk. There are professionals in the city whose specialty it is to snatch handbags – and get away on their boda bodas. Plenty of money can be made from tourists and halfwits. By paying suitable tribute to Vittorio De Sica’s Ladri di biciclette, Yes! That's Us succeeds in making a neorealist urban portrait of Kampala brought right up to date with Ugandan music, locations and actors. Abaabi ba boda boda is a wonderful take on a European classic from a young, African perspective.

Abaabi ba Boda Boda will screen at Mashariki African Film Festival on March 11 at The Office, Kiyovu from 8PM. I, personally as a fan of realistic works, this is the film I mostly anticipate.


5. Congo, Un Medecin pour soigner de femmes

This title might not be familiar to you, but I assure you that its story is very popular.

The documentary which was banned a lot of times in DRC, tells a story of Dr. Mukwege (I think here you know this name), the Congolese surgeon who has been operating for fifteen years in the hospital he founded, women victims of sexual violence in South Kivu province.

The 2014 Angele Diabang’s documentary, met the critical acclaim from across the world from critics, audience and humanitarian organizations; while it was being banned in the home country of its protagonist: Dr. Dennis Mukwege.

The film will screen on March 7, at The Office, Kiyovu from 6PM.

This is my recommendation but there are many other films which will be screened at the festival that you don’t need (even never) to miss from feature narratives, documentaries and short films from across Africa (42 films in total).

All films will be screened at The Office Kiyovu and Grand pension Plazza (for opening and closing only) and entry for all the festival all screenings is free.

Mashariki African Film Festival, under the theme “Cinema Unites Africa” opens this Sunday, March 6 at Grand Pension Plazza from 5:30PM, Kigali time (UTC+2) and closes at the same venue on March 12. Timbuktu is the opening film.

Check on the Screening Program Below and Enjoy the films!

MAAFF 2016

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