“The Black Filmmakers Film Festival [BFFF] is designed to encourage discussion about and generate exposure for black cinema ” // BFFF Team
A festival of black made films is created not to be in-competition with the rest of the industry, but to create an “industry within an industry”. BFFF is a organisation/event which provides film screenings, workshops & film festival activities with the mission of giving filmmakers, who would normally not be categorised as ‘hollywood,’ a platform to showcase the work.
“..Join in the aim to transform the sector into an inclusive business environment for people of colour…become a port of call for and empower black filmmakers who want to realize their ideas in Cape Town & foster an environment of mutual assistance and collaboration”
ZuZaNation attended this event for the first time on a chilly night and with the show screening being in the evening, you arrive to find the landmark figure of any festive, the food truck. Inside you would find a variety of seats for the patron’s comfortability. From couches and park benches to bean bags and those chairs you hire for umcimbini, it was a set up for just about anybody.
A thought provoking space with a number of objects around that one would not necessarily associate with a theater.
A performance by a singer, poet and pianist kicked off the night and then the screenings.
Before the show, we caught up with the gents and ladies behind Bfff.
- Black filmmakers’ festival. A bold statement or just a name of the festival. What inspired the name? (if yes, why)
We wouldn’t say that it is bold – to us this name is and should be considered the norm. The concept stemmed from the fact that we are not exposed to enough films made by PoC or who had major parts to play and who have significant roles within the film industry. We are very much detached from stories coming from people of colour, we are constantly being exposed to films about our people that are not told by us. We want to showcase the array and vibrant variety of talent through our eyes.
It is not aimed at keeping people out but rather a celebration of our films.
- Individually, who are you guys?
The team is made up of four people and up until recently we got a new member who runs our screenings in Port Elizabeth.
Based In Cape Town, we have Simbi Nkula who is a Director/ filmmaker, Lungiswa Joe who has her own fashion label/ entrepreneur called uGrand Blaque. Kabambi Mbiola who is also fashion stylist, artist and then Tania Pehl who is a journalist/photojournalist.
Our PE partner is Nomakhomazi Dyosopu who is also a filmmaker.
- Who woke up one day and decided they wanna have a cool film festival?
The brainchild of BFFF is Simbi’s, who felt that black film makers were not being celebrated enough and to create a space that people of colour within in the industry could come together and network, open up opportunities for one another, share advice and experiences etc.
- The state of South African film industry within comparison with the rest of Africa. Are we the leading country within the continent?
We are definitely up there with having quality films coming out of South Africa – we are such a rich people with amazing stories to tell. Also it is hard to say because as a group we are exposed to so many quality films coming from across the continent.
- Is the world ready for our movies?
We believe that question should be asked from the point of view of – is the world actually exposed to our movies? How will they know if they are not exposed to it. There are so many themes that come out of black filmmakers from love, culture, sci-fi… So yes, people are very receptive and open to our stories, they are just being given enough world wide exposure.
But then again I guess Hollywood tells us otherwise but who needs them.
- Who does this festival cater for?
Film makers, producers, people wishing to break into the film industry, creatives from all ends…. Film lovers!
- What are the objectives of the festival?
It’s an opportunity for collaboration, being inspired and, also, to foster an element of solidarity.
Creating a better network amongst people of colour in the industry has been a central goal of BFFF from the start. PoC and their ideas are not recognised consistently enough within the local film sector and we cannot rely on white producers or audiences to make this happen. We need to make it happen for ourselves, and this can do attitude is what we seek to instill by showing the amazing and high-quality work of Black filmmakers.
We also have introduced a learning aspect to it therefore run projects that seek to give back to the community.
- Any recommendations from you guys, what to look out for?
We have been screening some amazing films from across the African continent, therefore a collective that stands out for us are called The Nest from Kenya — namely Jimmi Chuchu. His is apart of a group of a variety of creatives and they create such beautiful work together. Check their website out here:
South African Director Sakhumzi Mati and Nomakhomazi Dyosopu.
Last but not least our partner – Big World Cinemas who are a Producer of award-winning features and documentaries. Extensive production and distribution network across Africa.
We are always screening quality films made by them.
Also come along to our screenings — there is so much to share.
- There is a trend that i’m sure you guys are aware of – of International directors and actors being used to tell our local stories, would you shed your opinions on that?
Yeah we are very aware of that (pretty much answered this question) — PoC must go out and tell their own stories. However we do feel that PoC are starting to take control over the way their stories are told, we just need to keep that momentum going. Our stories will always be authentic because we are the ones telling them, so internationals can try all they want but we know better.
- 5 years from now, what do you guys forecast for the festival?
More films, more workshops, better involvement in the communities, international screenings. MORE MORE MORE GREATNESS!!
Next Screening will be happening tonight[07 July 2016]. Be sure not to miss out!
7th July 2016, 19h30 @ Roof Garden Bar,
“Bring a friend and experience this entertaining feature film made in Congo. Curtesy of Big World Cinema. DVD’s will be on sale too!”
Check out a few trailers of the films you could have caught on the night.
This is not a trailer but rather a test shoot. The official short will be shot with a different cast and crew.
Extracts from ‘Late on Time‘
Director: Chia Stanley Kisuh
Screenplay: Billings Siwile
“Nieke Lombard as Tanya – a tough cookie with a big heart that can sum people up by face value.
Billings Siwile as Mengo – a beaten down by life character who finds hope again”
In the film we are introduced to Mkhonto Gwazela, an acclaimed ceramic artist based in the Eastern Cape, who travels to his ancestral home to share his love of art. In this episode we follow him as he tries to introduce art into schools in the rural areas.