African filmmakers discuss the state of African cinema


first_imgFive of Africa’s top independent filmmakers participated in a discussion panel at the 2017 Rapid Lion South African International Film Festival, sharing their thoughts on the state of African cinema and its future.Film directors (from left) Vincent Moloi, Steve Gukas, Arthur Musah, Daryne Joshua and David Mboussou discuss the African film industry with mediator Eric Miyeni at a Brand South Africa discussion during the Rapid Lion South African International Film Festival on 6 March 2017. (Image: Brand South Africa)CD AndersonThe RapidLion South African International Film Festival is showcasing the best films and filmmakers of Africa and its diaspora, and BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) members. The festival will run until 12 March 2017 at the Market Theatre in Newtown, Johannesburg.The festival includes screenings of films and documentaries, as well as panel discussions and an awards ceremony. The workshops focus on deepening mutual understanding, strengthening collaborative relations and exploring opportunities for growth and investment in the film-making industry.Brand South Africa has partnered with RapidLion to celebrate African filmmaking, particularly South African cinema. Under the theme of Inspiring New Ways, the partnership aims at soliciting ideas and perspectives from filmmakers and industry players on how African – and the South African Nation Brand – stories can be communicated in visual form, through compelling storytelling.During a recent panel chaired by festival director Eric Miyeni, a diverse group of African directors spoke about their experiences working in the industry, promoting their films to a global audience and finding the spirit of true African storytelling.The discussion focussed specifically around the theme of “how should cinema reflect Africa today?”.The five filmmakers were:David Mboussou, Gabonese director of the documentary series I am Congo.Arthur Musah, US-based, Ghana-born documentary maker. His film Naija Beta follows Nigerian undergraduates returning home to host a robotics summer camp for high schools.South African documentarian Vincent Moloi. His documentary, Skulls of My People, is an in-depth look at the history of German colonialism in Namibia and its effect on the country’s indigenous people.Steve Gukas, Nigerian director of the highly praised Ebola drama 93 Days, which stars Danny Glover.South Africa’s Daryne Joshua, director of the critically acclaimed prison drama Noem My Skollie.Combating the legacy of Western voyeurism@Brand_SA @MarketTheatre @ArtsCultureSA @Abramjee @RapidLionFilm African stories in an eye of an African, not WEST! #BrandSAPanelDiscussion pic.twitter.com/g8ueCoYyGM— Nkululeko Ngubane (@Nkulie14) March 6, 2017Miyeni opened the discussion highlighting the challenges of being an African filmmaker attempting to take African stories to the rest of the world. With a legacy of these stories being told through a more Western/European lens, African filmmakers, he said, have a responsibility to represent the continent and its people more accurately. Filmmakers also needed to find the stories that have yet to be told, and take those stories to the world.Mboussou concurred, aptly using an African proverb – “until lions are able to tell the story, hunters will always be the winners” – to encourage the sharing of ideas and knowledge between the continent’s filmmakers and finding common ground to get more African stories told globally.Musah, as American-Ghanaian, said it was important to get the stories he told right through diligent, honest research.Gukas reiterated that African stories need not fulfil conventional Western film narratives, but focus on the human experience. “Africans can find any story to tell, good or bad, as long as it was mindful of the right sensibilities and responsibilities of telling those stories.”Joshua, who with Skollie, attempted to tell a different kind of story about South Africa’s coloured community, said it was important to get the narratives right through cooperation and collaboration with the community whose stories filmmakers are attempting to tell.What challenges exist within African cinema?@Brand_SA @ArtsCultureSA @Abramjee @RapidLionFilm Arts&Culture treaties signed with the world, is it working for us?#BrandSAPanelDiscussion pic.twitter.com/nuslRBcE8x— Nkululeko Ngubane (@Nkulie14) March 6, 2017Miyeni asked panellists what they considered are the issues negatively impacting African storytelling in film.Across the board, the panel agreed that combating African stereotypes in film was imperative.Musah said as a filmmaker working in Africa and the US, it was a difficult to not be influenced by the usual Western film tropes that characterised Africa in film. His role as filmmaker, in general, was to fight clichés and champion realism in the stories he told.Moloi said that filmmakers, particularly documentarians, needed to treat their subjects with respect.Joshua added that even though it was sometimes challenging to find a positive angle in telling real stories, audiences responded well to uplifting, optimistic storytelling even when dealing with difficult themes.Gukas said the most prevalent challenge to making great African cinema was overcoming the “white saviour complex” in films. Not only did the notion of idealising western convention over realistic African stories impact the way the world sees the continent, more importantly, watching “Hollywood heroes” coming to Africa’s rescue impacted the way African audiences see themselves.From a marketing point of view, panellists agreed that filmmakers and audiences needed access to more platforms to see diverse products from small, independent African filmmakers that often get lost in the larger global cinema marketing machine.More specialised film festivals are also needed with better access to online video platforms to get the word out and create a buzz around films, no matter how small, and to boosts audiences.How to make African cinema world class@Brand_SA @MarketTheatre @ArtsCultureSA @Abramjee @RapidLionFilm Role of Cinema in positive portrayal of Africa? #BrandSAPanelDiscussion pic.twitter.com/HAPkQDHwCm— Nkululeko Ngubane (@Nkulie14) March 6, 2017Wrapping up the panel, Miyeni asked the filmmakers how the African film industry could compete with international film markets.Joshua said that even with the exceptional technical skills the continent has built up over the last few years, a focus must now be on writing and storytelling. While finding resources is easy – “all it takes is a pen and a page”- nurturing African writers with good, original and diverse stories is important.Moloi repeated a call for not only finding new markets for African film, but to create our own markets. “Embrace new media, like online video sharing,” and find ways to control the editorial direction of the art form. Also, as agreed by the entire panel, new funding models need to be found that emphasise content over commerce.Movie fans, journalists, bloggers and other influencers need to “be champions of African film and stories”, said Gukas. This kind of exposure will change the narrative of the African film industry and change global attitudes. The films are slowly being made, the world just needs to be told about them.From a technical standpoint, Musah thought specialisation is key. “Perfect the craft, find new ways of doing things using the tools available.”The Rapid Lion South African International Film Festival ends on 12 March 2017. For more information, check the festival website.Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.last_img read more

Reminder about winter wheat management for spring of 2016


first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest With recent warm weather, winter wheat has broken dormancy and begun to green up. With wheat plants no longer dormant, scouting and management of wheat fields is critical to producing high yields. As discussed earlier in the year, now is the time to plan for N applications where field conditions allow. Below is an excerpt from and a previous newsletter with recommendations for nitrogen application and rates:Spring applications of N should be made after the plants break dormancy. Although in some situations field conditions may be favorable, nitrogen applied in the late winter before plants have broken dormancy is more likely to be lost before plants can utilize it. Spring N applications should not be made before wheat has broken dormancy and begins to green up. The University of Kentucky publication “A Comprehensive Guide to Wheat Management in Kentucky” recommends: “When making a single N fertilizer application the best time is when the crop growth stage is Feekes 4-5, (Zadoks 30, usually mid-March) just before the first joint appears on the main stem and when wheat starts growing rapidly.” The UK publication goes on to say that “The rate of N fertilizer for a single application should be between 60 and 90 lb N/acre for fields with a yield potential less than 70 bu/acre and 90 to 100 lb N/acre for fields with greater yield potential.”Wheat plants begin a period of rapid growth and stem elongation once they reach Feekes Stage 6 (first node visible). The plant’s demand for N is high as the stem elongates and rapid growth begins. For optimal use of inputs and to achieve the highest yield potential, spring N should be applied in the period of time following green up prior to stem elongation.last_img read more

Bernier says abortion gender identity not on Peoples Party of Canada platform


first_imgThe Canadian Press OTTAWA — Maxime Bernier says the policies of his new political party will not include anything to do with abortion or gender identity.Bernier is defending the appointment of former Christian talk show host Laura-Lynn Tyler Thompson to be the first candidate for the People’s Party of Canada, which he founded after parting ways with the Conservative party in August.Tyler Thompson will run in the Burnaby South byelection in British Columbia next month, with the party’s candidates for other February byelections in Ontario and Quebec likely to be named next week.Tyler Thompson has in the last two years become a vocal critic of B.C.’s curriculum on sexual orientation and gender identity in public schools, calling it her “hill to die on” in a column she wrote last July.Bernier has marched in pride parades and is known to be pro-choice but would not say where he specifically stands on the issue of teaching gender identity in schools, calling it a matter under provincial jurisdiction.He says only that Tyler Thompson is entitled to her opinions but she knows social-conservative issues will not be part of the party platform for the 2019 election.last_img read more

Advocates say Quebec Alzheimers slaying highlights need for caregiver support


first_imgMONTREAL — Advocates for caregivers are hopeful the case of a Montreal man who killed his Alzheimer’s-stricken wife in what was described as an act of desperation, will shed some light on the plight of those struggling to care for relatives suffering from the disease.Michel Cadotte was sentenced Tuesday to two years less a day in jail for the 2017 suffocation killing of his wife, Jocelyne Lizotte, 60, who was in a long-term care facility. A jury had found him guilty earlier this year of manslaughter. He had told the court he couldn’t handle watching her suffer.The culmination of the case will hopefully alert the public to the daily struggles faced by primary caregivers, particularly those who are taking care of relatives stricken with Alzheimer’s, said Sylvie Grenier of the Quebec Federation of Alzheimer’s Societies.Grenier, who testified for the defence at sentencing, said the Cadotte case highlights the fact that relatives caring for patients with the neurodegenerative disease need to be looked after as well.“What the federation wants the public to retain from this, is all the distress faced by those who get the disease — the victim and their family,” Grenier said Wednesday. “We must support the person with the disease as well as all of those around them.”In Quebec, an estimated 145,000 people are currently suffering from Alzheimer’s and it’s a number that’s expected to spike to 260,000 by 2025.“We’re not ready for this,” said Grenier, adding that various agencies and groups are working to organize social and support services, medical care and day centres to deal with what she described as a “tsunami” of cases that are coming.Cadotte’s sentence was merited and must be denounced, Grenier said. But, she added, the case reveals how family members caring for sick relatives often live in isolation.“For those who are lucky enough not to deal with it, the impact of this disease is not something they can appreciate,” Grenier said. “They can’t understand the impact it can have on the level of distress in people.”Melanie Perroux, co-ordinator of the Regroupement des Aidants Naturels Du Quebec — an organization that represents caregivers, said she hopes the Cadotte case gives people pause to consider how taxing caregiving can be.“I think it shows us how we forget how complicated it is to take on this role and to be a caregiver on a daily basis,” Perroux said. “I really hope that within families where there are caregivers, people will stop to ask the principal caregiver: ‘How can I help you today? Can I do something for you?.”Political reaction was muted in Quebec City Wednesday. Senior ministers assigned to health and to seniors did not want to comment on the matter.Justice Minister Sonia LeBel wouldn’t comment directly on the Cadotte ruling because of the possibility of appeals.“There’s probably a societal debate to be had,” LeBel told reporters. “We can talk about how this type of situation doesn’t arise again, because there’s a sad situation at its core, the judge highlighted that in her judgment.”Sidhartha Banerjee, The Canadian Presslast_img read more