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Africa, a big player at Cannes 2014

By Sowetan LIVE | 2014-05-20 15:46:35.0

Africa is set to make a big impact at this year’s edition of the Cannes Film Festival, with a number of films from the continent expected to feature prominently.

One film in particular is being tipped for the festival's most prestigious accolade, the Palme d’Or, an award ceremony that would coincide with this year’s Africa Day.

Kudos go to Director Abderrahmane Sissako of the most talked about film at year's festival, 'Timbuktu'.

Set in Mali, the film is centred around a culturally diverse community of people who are forbidden from enjoying innocent pleasures such as music and football, and are stoned to death if found guilty of adultery.

It focuses on the subject of religious fundamentalism and how it can destroy the lives of ordinary people.

The film has received rave reviews with many critics tipping it to be this year’s winner of Cannes’ biggest award.

Another notable inclusion from Africa at this year’s festival is 'Run' - a film shot in the Ivory Coast - which will feature in the 'Un Certain Regard' category of films.

It chronicles the devastating toll of the country’s long-running civil war through the lens of a 21-year-old named Run. Over the course of the film, Run is forced to flee the demons of his own troubled past. 

This gritty coming-of-age drama has received a lot of attention and the hopes lie in the success of this film -  to strengthen the movie industry in that country.

As many as four South African films were also screened on the opening weekend alone. The list included the films 'Miners Shot Down', 'One Humanity', 'Nelson Mandela: The Myth and Me' as well as the critically acclaimed 'iNumber Number', which is already set for an American adaptation through Hollywood production company Wrekin Hill Entertainment.                                                                           

Africa, though, is not only viewed as a great source for stories but is now also being used for its amazing locations, with Directors from around the world coming to the continent to shoot big budget movies.

'The Salvation' is an example of that. It is a Hollywood Western movie shot entirely in Johannesburg and also features on the bill at this year’s festival.

With producers always looking for ways to save costs, filming in Africa is seen to be one of the most efficient ways to do that.

This year’s Cannes Film Festival could prove to be a breakthrough for the industry in Africa and there is much talk around investment and new projects.

With with the final day of Cannes and the awarding of the Palme d’Or coinciding with Africa Day, a victory for the continent would be more than fitting.

Source: Variety, Aljazeera, Screen Africa