After having celebrated the last four editions in Cordoba, the African Film Festival-FCAT has announced that it will hold its 13th edition in both Tarifa, Europe’s southernmost city, and Tangiers in northern Morocco, thereby celebrating African cinema on both shores of the Straits of Gibraltar.
Africa and Europe, Tarifa and Tangiers, are only 11km apart, a mere 30 minute journey on one of the fast ferries that crisscrosses the narrow sea between the two continents. In 2016 they will be brought even closer together thanks to this initiative.
The festival also returns to its original spring dates; May 26th -June 4th.
"The move was prompted when the new local government in Cordoba ended its support for the festival", declared Ms. Mane Cisneros, the festival’s founder and director, "so we opened negotiations with the new administration in Tarifa, and together we have decided to move the festival back where it was founded, while accomplishing a long pursued dream: that of uniting both continents in a simultaneous cultural event which showcases African cultures and European diversity through the eyes and vision of African filmmakers".
With Tarifa as a backdrop, FCAT regains its original space and reinforces the value of the Strait as a site for intercultural dialogue and cross-border exchange. As the mayor, Francisco Ruiz, said, the return of the festival, "means the return of an event reinforced by the involvement of two cities that share a past, present and future. Culture is not our only common area of work, but is the beginning of many other collaborations that will be realized within the framework of cross-border relationships".
On the other hand, Ruiz Giráldez stressed that, with the festival, Tarifa will have the opportunity to "relaunch its unique culture in an event of international significance”.
Meanwhile, the councillor for Culture, Ezequiel Andreu, said that the new edition of the FCAT will be more participatory. "The challenge is that different sectors of the local society will be involved in the organization and running of the event".
Apart from its traditional feature length fiction, documentary and short film sections packed with African films (the festival boasts an extensive film library of more than 800 African films subtitled into Spanish), the new two-city format brings new proposals: a section dedicated to films portraying the city of Tangiers in co-operation with the Moroccan city’s film institution (Cinémathèque); or a new section of ethnographic films curated together with the University of Seville’s Anthropology department. The open-air cinema sessions will focus on films rooted on both sides of the Straits.
Volunteers working for the festival in Tarifa will also have the opportunity to enroll in training courses on new technologies to improve their employability. Also focusing on the youth, students from both Tarifa and Tangiers will be able to enjoy a workshop during which they will create an online radio station that will broadcast over the duration of the festival.
The festival director has also scheduled a round of talks with Tarifa’s business representatives to study their proposals and ideas for co-operation with the festival. "The aim is to get as much input from the city as possible, to involve everyone as much as possible", said Cisneros.