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African Film Podcasts

On 24 January 2013, Elsa Keraudren, Masters student at CISD, interviewed Shanti Sattler on her research project with Dr Dan Plesh on the United Nations War Crimes Commission of 1943-1948 and the recently opened parts of its archives.

The background to their work can be viewed on the CISD website at "CISD War Crimes Project".

Directed by British-Ghanaian filmmaker Yaba Badoe, The Witches of Gambaga is an explicitly 'feminist' documentary about women in Northern Ghana who have been exiled from their communities following accusations of witchcraft. Sarah Marie Swanson discusses how the film portrays the difficult subject of witchcraft belief. With extracts from an interview Swanson conducted with Badoe, this podcast looks critically at the documentary's style and content, and at audience reactions to it.

Directed by French-Guadeloupian filmmaker Sarah Maldoror and first screened in 1972, Sambizanga is the first feature film ever to be made on the African continent by a female filmmaker. Sarah Marie Swanson looks at this canonical film that has now become accessible to audiences everywhere, almost forty years after it was made, and draws on reflections from Maldoror herself, as expressed during a Q&A at the Film Africa 2011 festival in London. This is the second episode in the series Reel Women, which looks at the portrayal of women in a variety of films set on the African continent.

Directed by South African filmmaker Sara Blecher, Surfing Soweto is a documentary that explores the lives of three young men who surf trains in the township of Soweto, South Africa. In this special edition of Reel Women, Sarah Marie Swanson offers a gendered reading of how this award-winning film reveals the complex lives of young, socially marginalised boys trying to become men. With clips from an interview Swanson conducted with Blecher, this podcast looks at issues around masculinity, motherhood and fatherhood, and the "lost generation" in contemporary South Africa.

The semi-autobiographical feature film The Place in Between was directed by the Burkinabe-French filmmaker Sarah Bouyain. It tells the story of women who form unlikely connections and strong bonds across language and cultural barriers. Sarah Marie Swanson explores what makes this film so unique in this fourth episode of the series Reel Women, which looks at the portrayal of women in a variety of films set on the African continent.

Surfing Soweto is a documentary film by Sara Blecher set in Soweto, South Africa. It was screened in London at the film festival Film Africa 2011, followed by a lively Q&A with the director about the difficulty in filming train surfing, and the ethics involved in telling the stories of young and disenfranchised South African men. This podcast includes a discussion of the film as well as an interview with the director conducted by Robin Steedman.

Restless City is a film by Andrew Dosunmu, a Nigerian director based in New York, which was screened in the 55th BFI London Film Festival last October, 2011. In this podcast, Estrella Sendra reviews a variety of aspects of this story about a young Senegalese man called Djibril who emigrates to New York, seeking to become a musician.

The documentary film Body and Soul set in Maputo, Mozambique, was screened at the Film Africa 2011 film festival in London, where it provoked a lively debate amongst audience members about several issues including the representation of disability and the ethics of filmmaking. In this podcast, Estrella Sendra and Caitlin Pearson discuss aspects of the film, and include sections of an interview conducted at the festival with the filmmaker Matthieu Bron.

In this podcast, Lindiwe Dovey - Senior Lecturer in African Film at SOAS - interviews the Congolese filmmaker Djo Tunda Wa Munga, writer and director of the multi-award-winning film VIVA RIVA!, currently screening in cinemas across the UK.

The Cambridge African Film Festival (CAFF) is the oldest annual African film festival in the UK, and a society of the University of Cambridge. It was initiated in May 2002 by a small group of graduate students at the University of Cambridge as a way of screening the best contemporary African films, increasing knowledge and awareness of African and black culture in the UK. In this podcast, Dr Lindiwe Dovey, Lecturer in African Film at SOAS, gives a detailed description of the festival and previews some of the most important films showing in the 2009 edition.