The Afrotopia Film fest, curated by artist Ingrid Lefleur, recently came to an end in Detroit, but it’s never too late to get new movies on your radar. As a fellow eccentric black girl, (a term Lefleur uses to refer to herself) I’m excited to share the top five picks from the festival that you should check out now.
1. Homecoming (2013) written and directed by Jim Chuchu (Kenya) – Even though I couldn’t find this short or a trailer online, my love for thrillers made just reading about it enough to intrigue me. The description doesn’t indicate much about afro-futurism, so I’m especially interested in seeing just how science fiction plays a role.
Debuted at the Toronto Film Festival, this Kenyan short film casts a voyeur’s obsession with the girl next door, blurring the lines between fantasy and reality, science fiction and fiction.
2. War Witch (2012) directed by Kim Nguyen (Democratic Republic of the Congo) — This one sounds like it’ll have a perfect balance of tough subject matter and beautiful moments.
Komona, a 14-year-old girl, tells her unborn child the story of how she became a rebel. It all began when she was 12. She was kidnaped by the rebel army and forced to carry an AK-47 and kill. Her only escape and friend is Magician, a 15-year-old boy who wants to marry her. Despite the horrors and the daily grind of war, Komona and Magician fall in love.
In order to survive, Komona will need to return to where she came from and make amends with her past. Not only a tale set in Sub-Saharan Africa, War Witch is a love story between two young souls caught in a violent world that manage to find beauty and magic.
3. Touch (2014) written and directed by Shola Amoo (United Kingdom) — Some parts of this could seem corny or sentimental, but I enjoyed it because of the future technology introduced. I don’t want to spoil anything, but there were definitely some WTF moments too.
Jessica and George meet in an open field at a specific time and place everyday. George is in love, but unbeknownst to him, Jessica hides a devastating secret. As Jessica’s feelings for George grow, she must make an important decision that will change her life forever.
4. Robots of Brixton (2011) by Kibwe Tavares (England) — At first I was waiting for some dialogue and felt lost about what was going on, but by the end of this one I was feeling emotional — maybe because it reminded me of some of the things going on recently in Baltimore. It’s pretty brief compared to the others here, but packs a punch.
Robots of Brixton follows the trials and tribulations of young robots surviving at the sharp end of inner city life, living the predictable existence of a populous hemmed in by poverty, disillusionment and mass unemployment.
5. Pumzi (2009) written and directed by Wanuri Kahiu (Kenya) – A lady of color in science trying to get out of an oppressive world and save everyone? Yeah, I needed to know what happened at the end.
It’s a science fiction film about Africa in the future, 35 years after World War III, ‘The Water War.’ Set in a post-apocalyptic world in which water scarcity has extinguished life above ground, the short follows one scientist’s quest to investigate the possibility of germinating seeds beyond the confines of her repressive subterranean Nairobi culture. Watch it here, and the trailer below.
You can read about the rest of the movies here.
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