Originating from the president of the Venice Biennale in the 1930s, Count Giuseppe Volpi di Misurata, and Luciano De Feo, the Venice Film Festival was born.
The film is the world’s oldest film festival and one of the biggest film festivals, alongside the Cannes Film Festival and the Berlin International Film Festival. These three film festivals are internationally applauded for giving creators the artistic freedom to express themselves through film.
The Venice film festival exhibits Italian and international art, architecture, dance, music, theatre, and cinema. All of which are showcased at separate exhibitions including the International Art Exhibition, the International Theatre Festival, the International Architecture Exhibition, the International Festival of Contemporary Dance, the International Kids’ Carnival, and the annual Venice Film Festival, which is undoubtedly the most recognized of all the events.
A couple of weeks ago, the festival revealed its line for this year’s exhibition, held from the 1st to the 11th of September in Lido, Italy.
Final Cut in Venice is the project that has been providing concrete assistance in the completion of films from all African countries and Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, and Syria. The workshop offers the opportunity to present films still in the production phase to international film professionals, to facilitate post-production and film market access.
The workshop consists of three days of activities (September 5th to 7th 2021) during which the working copies of the selected films will be introduced to producers, buyers, distributors, post-production companies and film festival programmers.
The 6 work in progress films selected are:
Under the Fig Trees by Erige Sehiri (Tunisia, Qatar, Switzerland, France)
Mami Wata by C.J. “Fiery” Obasi (Nigeria, France)
Hanging Gardens by Ahmed Yassin Al Daradji (Iraq, Palestine, United Kingdom)
The Mother of All Lies by Asmae El Moudir (Morocco, Germany, Qatar)
We, Students! by Rafiki Fariala (Central African Republic, France, Democratic Republic of Congo, Italy)
The Nights Still Smell of Gunpowder by Inadelso Cossa (Mozambique, Germany, France, Norway, The Netherlands, Portugal)
This exhibition is then concluded with the awarding of prizes, in-kind or in cash, for the financial support of the films in their post-production stage.
Our very own Wanuri Kahiu and Samuel Ouluoko have also made their marks at the reputable festival in the previous years.
Wanuri Kahiu is a Kenyan film director, producer, and author. She has received several awards and nominations for the films which she has directed, including the awards for Best Director, Best Screenplay and Best Picture at the Africa Movie Academy Awards in 2009 for her dramatic feature film From a Whisper. Wanuri is also the co-founder of Afro Bubblegum, a media collective that’s committed to aiding African art.
In 2010, Wanuri’s sci-fi short film Pumzi won the “Citta di Venezia” Award (Award of the City of Venice) at the Venice Film Festival. Pumzi is Kenya’s first science fiction film with an Afro-futuristic perspective and it’s set 35yrs after World War 3.
Running at hardly, twenty-two minutes, Wanuri’s short film compresses environmental concerns together with related issues of urgency: patriarchy, authoritarianism, technology, communication, classism, and poverty. The film has an impressive 7.3 IMDB rating.
Wanuri is also popular for being the brains behind the controversial film ‘Rafiki’, which tells the story of two Kenyan girls who fall in love with each other and have a hard time navigating this love with their families in a homophobic society. The film was selected to premiere at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival, and it was the first Kenyan film to screen at the festival where it got a standing ovation.
On the other hand, Samuel Ouluoko also participated in the Venice Film Festival in 2016. Samuel is an award-winning Film & TV producer/director with over 11 years of experience. He particularly does human interest stories that have a direct social impact on society. Through the lens, Samuel can speak for the deprived, marginalised and adversely underprivileged members of the society. He’s also the founder of the youth talents organisation within the urban slums of Nairobi, where he trains and mentors the youth in film and media production.
Through a special partnership, Sam got to not only visit Venice but also network with the likes of Al-Pacino & shoot some films in Italy. Samuel is renowned for working on films like Mother Inlaw, the City of Life and the Fog in myself.
Film festivals are fundamental because they provide filmmakers with a platform to introduce their work, network and discuss topics shown in the film as well as the filmmaking process. These festivals help motivate and create a dialogue between people. Creatives generally concur that film festivals are a vital part of their event calendar, whether they’re submitting a film or just going along as an audience member.
We wish all the selected participants the best of luck during the 78th Venice International Film Festival.