CTPI at the Africa in Motion Film Festival

The Centre for Theology and Public Issues is sponsoring four films at the Africa in Motion Film Festival this Saturday, 5 November. The films will be presented in two double bills at the Filmhouse Cinema in Edinburgh. Each double bill will be followed by a discussion with Jolyon Mitchell, Professor of Communication, Arts and Religion at the University of Edinburgh and Director of CTPI, and Eolene M. Boyd-MacMillan, Research Associate with the Psychology and Religion Research Group at the University of Cambridge.

The first double bill features the animated documentary Slaves, by Swedish director David Aronowitsch, and Fambul Tok, by the American Sara Terry.

Slaves is about Abuk, nine, and Machiek, fifteen. Like thousands of other children they were taken by government-sponsored militia in Sudan and exploited as slaves. They were later liberated by the organisation CEAWC (Committee for the Eradication of Abduction of Women and Children). Capturing the full power of animation, Slaves is based on an interview made in 2003 and part of a series of animated documentaries with and about children in difficult situations.

Fambul Tok documents how victims and perpetrators of Sierra Leone’s brutal civil war are coming together for the first time to make peace, face-to-face, in an unprecedented programme of tradition-based truth-telling and forgiveness ceremonies. Through reviving their ancient practice of ‘fambul tok’ (family talk), Sierra Leoneans are building sustainable peace at grassroots level–leading their own reconciliation process and succeeding where the international community’s post-conflict efforts have failed. Filled with lessons for the West, the film explores the depths of a culture that believes true justice lies in redemption and healing for individuals–and that forgiveness is the surest path to restoring dignity and building strong communities.

The second double bill includes Where Do I Stand?, by American filmmaker Molly Blank, and Congolese director Djo Tunda Wa Munga’s State of Mind.

Where Do I Stand? looks at the aftermath of the xenophobic attacks that broke out across South Africa in May 2008. At the time, many South Africans found themselves caught off-guard, shocked by a violence that felt like a violation of the principles of their newly democratic nation. In the midst of this violence, many young people, clad in the bright greens and maroons of their school uniforms, looted neighbourhood shops while some of their classmates, refugees themselves, fled to safer ground. Where Do I Stand? is a window into the lives of seven young people thinking deeply about their actions during and after the violence. They include a Rwandan refugee, a girl wrestling with the reality of foreigners in her township, a boy facing calls of cowardice, and a girl whose family sheltered their Malawian gardener. Where Do I Stand? captures the optimistic voices of youth carving out their own places in this complex and divided country.

State of Mind is a layered, engrossing and intriguing look at a national collective trauma and the ambitious initiative to try and heal its wounds. In war-torn countries, people will not be able to lead productive lives and reconstruction will fail until they have overcome their trauma. In the Democractic Republic of the Congo, a country where over five million people have been killed in wars in recent history, can one develop new ways to deal with this massive trauma and open doors to development? DRC filmmaker Djo Tunda Wa Munga sensitively follows an intriguing psychological experiment that might enable millions of people to overcome their trauma.

Please book your tickets at the Filmhouse box office or on their website.

Image credit: Still from Slaves by David Aronowitsch.

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