The annual Helsinki African Film Festival (HAFF) brings a selection of the best of African cinema to Finland for the fourth time this week. The festival has a broad range of films from all over the continent and this time both fact and fiction will be brought together by the overarching theme of Youth and Power.
“We will focus on the lives of young people across the diverse African continent and diaspora”, says the festival director Wanjiku wa Ngugi, and continues “Everyone agrees that young people are the future of Africa, but what are the challenges they face as they claim their place in their societies – whether they are pushing for political change and demanding justice, finding ways to make a living, or deciding how to live and love?”
The festival will take place this week between the 8th and the 12th of May in Helsinki at two cinemas: the Andorra and Kino Engel, as well as at the cultural centre Caisa. The opening film is Nairobi Half Life from Kenya and its director Tosh Gitonga will be speaking about the film and film making on the continent of Africa in general on the today (8.5.) in Caisa starting at 5pm. His views can also be heard on the ask from director event held as a part of the festival opening.
Another particularly notable film this year is Senegalese Tey(Today), which is directed by Alain Gomis and starring Saul Williams. Tey won the Golden Stallion award of FESPACO (Pan-African Film Festival of Ouagadougou) which can be compared to an African Oscar. The festival will also feature other films by Gomis.
The festival is organised by the Helsinki African Film Festival working group in collaboration with development cooperation organisation Shalin ry. The aim of the festival is to provide the Finnish audiences an opportunity to see top quality contemporary African films and act as a counter-balance to the dominant and one-sided news narrative from the African continent which leans on negative stereotypes and simplifications of Africa and Africans.
The full festival programme is available at www.haff.fi
Aside from the film festival, HAFF will be also organising an African street festival in the Helsinki city center, at Kansalaistori (between Sanomatalo and the new Music House) today starting at 13.00.
Welcome to the screenings and events.