Les États généraux du film documentaire 2013 Africa


This African selection is the last in the series. Indeed, after ten years of support for the development of African documentary, an observation can be made: a young generation of documentary filmmakers and independent producers is at work from Francophone sub-saharan Africa to the North of the Maghreb. Henceforth numerous authors have a conscience of and have appropriated the forms of cinematic creation. Of course, all of this remains fragile, but we can see the effects of this movement by the ever growing presence of these films in numerous festivals today.
We should stress the immense contribution of authors from the diaspora, children born in Europe who observe the African continent with films showing a just critical distance. They dare, they circumvent the taboos.
Behind this observation, there is the work of many people involved in a myriad of initiatives promoting accelerated training or introductions to film-making, created for the most part some ten years ago. The Africadoc programme was part of this reality. The thirty something production structures and the hundred or so filmmakers trained over the past ten years have encouraged us to move a step further: we will no longer qualify as "African" the dozen films we present each year. We prefer instead to include them in a vaster selection: that of the growing cinema activity of southern countries.
In parallel with the documentary village of Lussas, Docmonde leads, together with a network of independent producers, a training programme aimed at promoting the emergence of an international network of independent filmmakers and producers: an "International Documentary". I.D. is starting to take form. Over the next decade it should include representatives from a dozen regions around the world, essentially countries from the South and the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China), and create a network of fair-trade coproduction and distribution of creative documentary moving South-North, North-South, and South-South. This is the dynamic within which our African films will be included next year. It is out of the question to reduce the visibility of the selected African films, but to include them in a wider group where they will be less confined to a ghetto, joining documentaries from Europe, Central Asia, the Caucasus and the Indian Ocean. A world map drawn by personal documentaries...
This 2013 edition represents a moment of transition and the "Africa" selection will be organised around three screenings. The first is devoted to the Indian Ocean and the largest country in those waters, Madagascar. For several decades, the situation of creative documentary production has been devastating. The number of films produced and directed by Malagasy living in Madagascar can be counted on the fingers of one hand. Yet over the past few years, films have been made, coproductions have been signed through the energy created by the Annual Meeting of Short Films in Tamatave, the country's second city.
We have chosen to present four films. The first is that of Lova Nantenaina, trained at the Esav school of Toulouse. The director of Avec presque rien proposes a eulogy to the art of making-do in the heart of poverty and attempts to capture the dignity that governs the invention of crafts founded on recuperation and autoproduction.
The three other films are the first made in Tamatave by young Malagasy. They document extremely varied realities, but their first strength is above all to plunge us into the theatres of the Malagasy human comedy comprised by peasant families, a group of university students, a village school on the outskirts of the city. Beyond their strictly documentary value, it is also interesting to discover and question the variety of their style, their cinematic narration techniques, whereas all were accompanied by the same technical training team.
The afternoon will be devoted to three first films. First of all Avant l'audience, a posthumous work. Yssouf Kousse and Jean-François Hautin with the help of producer Yves Billon carried out the edit of this film by Aimé Kouka Zongo (Burkina Faso). Its projection is particularly important for us. By investigating the problem of the incarcerated awaiting their trial in Ouagadougou, the film is part of that artistic movement of solidarity where Aimé Kouka Zongo wanted to make his own contribution as an independent, considering very clearly that documentary film should be a tool in the hands of the Burkinabé civil society. Follows the film by the Beninese Faissol Gnonlonfin, Obalé le Chasseur, quite exemplary in the correctness of its documentary direction. Finally the third film of the afternoon, Atalaku by Dieudo Hamadi questions the way elections are run and political democracy practiced in Kinshasa in the pure tradition of immersion cinema.
Finally, the evening session will be entire given over to the screening of the two most recent films by Naida El Fani, Laïcité Inch'Allah and Même pas mal which constitute as many examples proving that cinema can be a powerful tool of resistance. We will be sure not to forget, beyond the debate about the situation in Tunisia, to analyze the cinematographic construction of these films in which merge, in a single flow, the struggle for life and the struggle within politics.

Jean-Marie Barbe

Debates in the presence of Nadia El Fani, Faissol Gnonlonfin, Dieudo Hamadi, Lova Nantenaina.