The 10th Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) successfully delivered a host of African productions to its audiences, including Half of a Yellow Sun, Biyi Bandele’s film adaptation of the Orange Prize-winning novel by Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichies and the previously banned South African film, Of Good Report, by writer and director Jahmil Qubeka.
DIFF gives independent and established filmmakers from Asia and Africa the opportunity to present their creative voices to an international audience. This year it ran from 6th-14th December, and hosted many productions for their first international viewings.
Nashen Moodley, AsiaAfrica programme director, said: “The films selected this year will enthral audiences with their gripping storylines, brave and poignant themes, and moving performances. This segment is about providing access to a truly global box office, uniting audiences with film lovers around the world in their experience of these wonderful stories.”
Half of a Yellow Sun tells the story of two sisters during the late 1960s, when Nigeria was in the throes of the Biafran War. The author has stated that discussion about the war remains “uninformed and unimaginative”, despite its significant impact upon Nigeria’s people.
She says the war is as important to the Igbo people featured in her book today as it was then, and that because none of the major political events were changed in the book, that it contains an “emotional truth”, and reveals the significant impact upon the people of Nigeria.
Of Good Report is a South African homage to film noir that chronicles the tragic tale of an introverted high school teacher in rural South Africa who starts an obsessive affair with a pupil. It is the second film directed by Qubeka after his 2011 A Small Town Called Descent.
Special mentions were also given at DIFF’s Muhr Awards for the AsiaAfrica category, to Paris-born Burkinabé director Cédric Ido for his short, Twaaga, about an eight-year-old boy who aspires to be a superhero amid Burkina Faso’s 1987 revolution, and to Souleymane Démé, for his lead role in Grigris, by long-time Chadian director Mahamat-Saleh Haroun.