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Hot Docs-Blue Ice Group Documentary Fund 2011

Development Grant Recipients

BUDDHA OF AFRICA
Director and Producer: Nicole Schafer
Production Company: Thinking Strings Media
Country: South Africa/Malawi

BUDDHA OF AFRICA explores China’s rise in Africa through the story of a Malawian orphan being raised at a Chinese Buddhist orphanage near the country’s economic capital, Blantyre.

About the Director
Independent documentary filmmaker, video journalist and researcher Nicole Schafer recently returned to South Africa after spending two years in Malawi producing freelance video features for Reuters pan-African magazine show Africa Journal, where she received several Best of the Week and Best of the Month awards for stories on many topics, including food security, orphans, conservation, industry and culture. Her current project Buddha of Africa won the IDFA Most Promising Documentary Award at the Durban Film Mart in South Africa. Nicole has an MFA degree in Film and Television production from the University of Cape Town. Her thesis film, The Ballad of Rosalind Ballingall (2005), about the disappearance of a young woman into South Africa’s Knysna forest, earned her a distinction and was shown at the 2006 Frijbourg International Film Festival.

FIFIRÉ EN PAYS CUBALLO (FIFIRÉ IN CUBALLO’S LAND)
Producer: Sellou Diallo
Director: Mame Woury Thioubou
Production Company: Les Films de l’Atelier
Country: Senegal

In the past, the Fifiré celebration featured crocodile hunts, but no longer since the beasts have disappeared from Senegal River. Now young people, with no crocodiles to hunt or fish to catch, live facing cultural upheaval, caught between tradition and modernity.

About the Director
Mame Woury Thioubou is a journalist who has been interested in documentary filmmaking since 2008, when she joined the Africadoc, an association that participates in the development and dissemination of the documentary in Senegal. She has a Masters degree in Director of Creative Documentaries from the University of Saint Louis in Senegal, and her graduation film, Face to Face received the Ebony Price for the Best Film at the International Film Festival of Dakar. In 2011, her documentary A day with Ngone was included in the A day with… collection by Arte, Ardèche Images Production and Les Films du Tambour de Soie (France). She is currently working on two documentary films: Fifiré in Cuballo’s Land and Nine.


Production Grant Recipients

THE CHILDREN’S WIZARD ACCUSED
Producer: Nadège Ndembo
Director: Camille Mouyeke
Production Company: Horten’s Films
Country: Congo

Allegra, Thierry, and Mara are child witches, who have been driven from their families. In the streets and cities in Central Africa there are thousands like them, ages 2 to 16, who are accused of witchcraft and who, left to fend for themselves, stretch the limits of human dignity and the rights of the child.

About the Director
A graduate of Paris University VIII, Camille Mouyeke has directed a number of short fiction films, including So Goes Africa (2008), The Mavericks (1999), The Ordeal by Fire (1995), The Police Violence (1993). His first feature fiction film, Journey to Ouaga (2001) won several awards, including the Grand Prize at the Festival of film Les Mureaux.The Children’s Wizard Accused is Camille Mouyeke’s first feature documentary.

JUST A BAND: THE MOVIE
Producers and Directors: Wanuri Kahiu, Anjali Nayar
Country: Kenya

JUST A BAND: THE MOVIE is a kaleidoscopic portrait of four artistically eclectic twenty-somethings who form Kenya’s super nerdy Afro-electro-pop group Just A Band. The film follows them through projects and performances – from their out-of-control street parties in downtown Nairobi to the making of their blaxploitation music-mentry HA-HE, which became Kenya’s first Internet meme.

About the Directors
Anjali Nayar is an award-winning journalist and documentary filmmaker based in Nairobi, Kenya. Over the last six years she has worked on several films ranging from Heart of Iron, an investigative documentary on secret iron ore mining deals in the Congo Basin Rainforest, to Gun Runners supported by Canada’s National Film Board, about Kenyan warriors-turned-runners. Anjali studied documentary film at Columbia University in New York City where her student film on body snatchers in New York City won the university’s prize for best documentary.

Wanuri Kahiu is a Nairobi-based director. Her films include Pumzi, a sci-fi film about Africa 35 years after World War III, and From a Whisper, about an intelligence officer and a young artist who learn to confront their fears after losing somebody in the 1998 US Embassy bombing in Nairobi. From a Whisper received 12 nominations and five awards at the 2009 African Academy Awards. Wanuri has a Masters degree in directing from the School of Film and Television at the University of California, Los Angeles.

NORWEGIAN CRIME IN CONGO
Producer and Director: Djo Tunda Munga
Production Company: Suka! Productions
Country: Democratic Republic of Congo

Tjostolv Moland and Joshua French, two Norwegians citizens, were found guilty by a Congolese military tribunal of the death of a taxi driver in Kisangani, Democratic Republic of Congo, in September 2009. Behind the crime, thriller and investigation, the documentary will look at how the Congolese population is trapped in an environment where justice, the State, Western diplomacy and almost everything are dysfunctional.

About the Director
Djo Tunda Wa Munga attended the National Film School of Belgium, INSAS. After working in the European film industry, he returned to the Democratic Republic of Congo to work as a line producer on documentaries for BBC, ARTE and Danish TV. He created the first production film company DRC, SUKA! Productions, and produced and directed the TV movie Papy. He also directed the acclaimed documentary, State of Mind, and produced a Congo in Four Acts, which won awards at Cinéma du Réel (Paris) and the International Human Rights Film Festival (Vienna). More recently, his Kinshasa based feature film Viva Riva! premiered at the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival and won six African Movie Awards, including Best Director and Best Film. He was named the 2010 African Trailblazer by MIPTV.

WHOSE COUNTRY
Director and Producer: Anonymous
Country: Egypt

An Egyptian filmmaker seeks to expose the dark underbelly of the police through the uninhibited accounts of two assistant police officers who have served, for more than a decade, the old Egyptian regime.



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