This is probably the first time a European film event showcased content from African filmmakers on the front row. At this year’s European Film Market (EFM) event held in Berlin, Germany, at the prestigious film showcase event, the Berlinale. The organizers of the event introduced a new initiative of showcasing films produced in sub-Saharan Africa during the event.
African films have been assigned their own platform at this prestigious film event, dubbed the Berlinale Africa Hub. Where African filmmakers and innovators can showcase their content in what the EFM director Matthijs Wouter Knol says is “a new generation” who are eager to transform the continent film space.
The Berlinale Africa Hub will shine the limelight on storytelling innovations that employ the use of virtual reality and 360-degree cameras. It will also showcase new film distributions from Africa as well draw a marketing road map on the continent. The emergence of Video-on-Demand (VOD) platforms across the African continents has also been showcased at the platform.
Knol says EFM plans to change “the stereotypes and prejudices that normally can be heard…when it comes to African cinema.”
The producer of Electric South, a South Africa-based non-profit organization, giving support and mentorship to African startup players in digital visual storytelling space, Steven Markovitz said, that Africa has for long been perceived to be a step behind the international standards.
“I hope by this kind of display of VR and new media, the rest of the world will get a sense that Africa is innovating and is experimenting with new formats, and finding new ways of telling stories,” said Markovitz.
“What’s refreshing about it is that the philosophy is not how can Europe help Africa. It’s that what can the rest of the world learn from Africa.”
About the Berlinale Africa Hub
The Berlinale Africa Hub is a first of a kind initiative by EFM, in partnership with the World Cinema Fund, the Berlinale Co-Production Market, and the Berlinale Talents with support from the German Federal Foreign Office to showcase African films.
This initiative underscores Berlinale long-term commitment to showcasing and developing the film industry across the continent of Africa. In 2016, the World Cinema Fund launched a new program, WCF Africa, an initiative to promote films from the sub-Saharan Africa region.