Last month, Tatenda Jamera, curator and founder of Maona Art film exhibition, an organisation committed to exhibiting and producing the best of African Indie Cinema,  approached us about attending Dublin International Film Festival We supported Tatenda's essential visit with a bursary.

Tatenda reports that going to film festivals where they are able to immerse themselves in up-and-coming African cinema with Dublin International Film Festival's African season and panel discussions on crafting Authentic Narratives helped them to connect to their mission and with other exhibitors who share their values and gave them motivational drive to continue sharing more diverse films in their region.

The name "Maona," meaning "you have seen" in the Shona language from Zimbabwe, reflects the organization's passion for allowing others to see and experience African stories through film and art.

Report written by Tatenda Jamera

In the previous month, I had the opportunity to travel to Dublin to partake in the Dublin International Film Festival, thanks to the support of the Film Midlands Hub bursary scheme. The festival presented an impressive array of film premieres, with a particular focus on the African Season, a curated selection highlighting the exceptional talent from Africa and its diaspora.

The program showcased a diverse range of films from up-and-coming filmmakers hailing from various countries such as Sudan, Morocco, Nigeria, and Tunisia. Among the highly anticipated films making their debut in Ireland were the acclaimed works like "Four Daughters," "Goodbye Julia," and "Mami Wata," which have been generating buzz for potential Oscar recognition. Notable mentions also include rapper Baloji's first directorial effort "Omen," Cannes Un Certain Regard Jury Prize winner "Hounds," and Ramata-Toulaye Sy's enchanting fable "Banel & Adama," along with the emotionally resonant coming-of-age drama "Àma Gloria".

Furthermore, the festival included engaging panel discussions, with the Crafting Authentic Stories panel catching my attention, featuring speakers such as Oge Obasi, the producer of "Mami Wata," and Ramata-Toulaye Sy, the writer and director of "Banel & Adama." This panel brought together accomplished filmmakers from various parts of Africa, including emerging talents whose works have garnered critical acclaim at the Cannes Film Festival. The discussion delved into the intricacies of sharing diverse cultures with a global audience, exploring different strategies for navigating language, context, and storytelling while upholding cultural authenticity. The aim was to highlight how cinema contributes to shaping, celebrating, and honoring African storytelling traditions.

Witnessing the Dublin International Film Festival's efforts to promote African cinema and culture in Ireland was truly inspiring. I am confident that the upcoming editions will be even more impactful and reach a broader audience. With several films already securing distribution deals in the UK, I am optimistic that the remaining works will follow suit. Connecting with fellow dedicated exhibitors who share my enthusiasm for showcasing African cinema was a valuable experience, enhancing my network and motivating me to further contribute to the film industry in my region.

Inspired to attend a film festival?  You can find all you need to know about applying for a bursary to attend vital events for industry progression here