4/25/2016 | SIFF Festivals
Sara Huey | 206.315.0707 |

SEATTLE -- April 25, 2016 -- SIFF is the recipient of a generous FilmWatch grant from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. For the 2016 Festival (slated for May 19 - June 12), SIFF will receive $25,000 to continue its groundbreaking African Pictures program, presented annually at the Seattle International Film Festival and funded by a multi-year Academy grant from 2013 through 2015. FilmWatch grants support curated screening programs at North America-based film festivals, film societies, and other film-related organizations.
"The Academy's grant recognizes SIFF's tremendous initiative in fostering and presenting film from and about Africa," says SIFF Festival Director and Chief Curator Carl Spence. "Academy funding of African Pictures has given SIFF an unprecedented opportunity as a major international film festival to showcase a substantive program of films from and about Africa, and more importantly bringing African filmmakers to the United States to engage with the film industry, film aficionados, and students at all levels."
Since 2013, African Pictures has presented 67 films from 37 countries, including 6 World premieres, 17 North American premieres, and 3 US premieres. Curated by SIFF programmers Dustin Kaspar and Justine Barda, the film selections include something for everyone -- from ethereal and experimental to gritty and provocative -- African Pictures showcases a microcosm of world cinema available only at SIFF. Additionally, the program has welcomed 41 guests from 12 countries, gathered from near and far to participate in engaging Q&As, industry networking, and educational panels on every aspect of the global film scene.
Engaging once again with critical issues of our time, African Pictures for 2016 presents two looks at political unrest among youth with the thrilling first-hand Senegalese documentary The Revolution Won't Be Televised, making its US Premiere at SIFF, and the touching Tunisian narrative drama As I Open My Eyes. Film festival veteran Lamb, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival and was Ethiopia's official submission for Best Foreign Language Film at the 2015 Academy Awards, explores the different ways its young characters react and rebel when they encounter tradition and social status quo, in this enchanting directorial debut set against the breathtaking backdrop of eastAfrican countryside.
SIFF alumna filmmaker Nadine Angel Cloete (short film Miseducation, SIFF 2013) will return to Seattle in person with the World Premiere of her first feature, Action Comandante, an eye-opening documentary about South Africanfreedom fighter Ashley Kriel. The first African Pictures feature from Burkina Faso, multiple-award-winning Eye of the Storm, explores the issues, corruption, and damaging legacy surrounding child soldiers through the fictionalized tale of a war crimes trial.
As part of African Pictures, SIFF provides tickets to educators and their students to participate in and attend screenings at the Festival in addition to taking filmmakers into classrooms around the region as part of SIFF's FutureWave education outreach program for K-12 and University students. To date, African Pictures filmmakers have visited twenty such classes in the Seattle area, spending time with nearly one thousand students.
The full African Pictures lineup for SIFF 2016 is below.
Feature Films
Action Comandante
d. Nadine Angel Cloete | South Africa, Lesotho 2016 | 90 min
The sister of South African anti-apartheid freedom fighter Ashley Kriel, who was shot and killed by police at age 20, reflects on how he became a symbol of youth resistance in the 1980s. World Premiere
d. Chande Omar | Tanzania 2015 | 112 min
When a Tanzanian businesswoman experiences a brutal attack upon returning to her home village, she discovers that friends and family are willing to turn a blind eye to the abuse that women suffer and decides to fight for justice no matter the consequence.
As I Open My Eyes
d. Leyla Bouzid | Tunisia, France, Belgium, United Arab Emirates 2015 | 102 min
On the eve of the Jasmine Revolution, a young Tunisian woman must balance the expectations of her family, who would love to see her go to medical school, with her creative life as a singer in a politically charged rock band that is just beginning to get noticed.  
Atlantic Heart
d. Robbie McCallum | Cape Verde, United Kingdom 2016 | 87 min
After losing their dog amid the chaos of Mardi Gras on the African island country of Cape Verde, teenage siblings Lucas and Telma begin a quest that leads them through bars, bordellos, and back streets, exposing them to the harsh realities of island life. 
Checks and Balances
d. Malek Bensmaïl | Algeria, France 2015 | 97 min
Experience firsthand the struggles and triumphs of fiercely independent Algerian newspaper El Watan, whose staff have been targets of attacks from both the government and Islamist insurgents, but who continue to fight for freedom of the press.  North American Premiere
Eye of the Storm
d. Sékou Traoré | Burkina Faso, France 2015 | 101 min
In a small African country, an idealistic lawyer reluctantly defends a rebel, and former child soldier, on trial for war crimes, and begins to understand the psychological ramifications and effects on adults of brainwashing youth for war.  
d. Yared Zeleke | Ethiopia, France, Germany, Norway, Qatar 2015 | 94 min
After he is sent to live with his uncle in a small farming village, 9-year-old Ephraim must protect his beloved pet lamb from a traditional holiday sacrifice. Meanwhile, his headstrong female cousin challenges customs in her own way. 
Much Loved
d. Nabil Ayouch | Morocco, France 2015 | 103 min
Banned in Morocco due to its controversial content, Much Loved tells the stories of four sex workers in Marrakesh operating on the margins of society. From Nabil Ayouch, the Golden Space Needle Award-winning director of Horses of God (SIFF 2013). 
d. Kelly Daniela Norris, TW Pittman | Ghana, USA 2016 | 90 min
Talented medical student Iddrisu returns to his native Ghanaian village after his father's death only to be dragged back into family obligations in an intimate yet universal story of the struggles between tradition and progress, family and career.  
The Revolution Won't Be Televised
d. Rama Thiaw | Senegal 2016 | 110 min
In a campaign to unseat president Abdoulaye Wade, three young Senegalese rappers began a protest movement called "We Are Fed Up," taking their message across Dakar to spread a message of freedom and emphasizing the importance of voting through their rap music. US Premiere
Short Films
Alive & Kicking: The Soccer Grannies of South Africa
d. Lara-Ann de Wet | USA, South Africa 2016 | 20 min
Awa's Dream
d. Zena Zeidan, Yancouba Dième | Senegal 2015 | 5 min
US Premiere 
Battalion To My Beat
d. Eimi Imanishi | USA, Algeria, Western Sahara 2016 | 14 min
d. Aïda Senna | Morocco 2015 | 15 min
North American Premiere
New Eyes
d. Hiwot Admasu | France, Great Britain 2015 | 12 min
US Premiere 
d. Brent Dawes | South Africa 2016 | 5 min

About SIFF

Founded in 1976, SIFF creates experiences that bring people together to discover extraordinary films from around the world with the Seattle International Film Festival, SIFF Cinema, and SIFF Education. Recognized as one of the top film festivals in North America, the Seattle International Film Festival is the largest, most highly attended film festival in the United States, reaching more than 150,000 annually. The 25-day festival is renowned for its wide-ranging and eclectic programming, presenting over 450 features, short films, and documentaries from over 80 countries each year. SIFF Cinema exhibits premiere theatrical engagements, repertory, classic, and revival film showings 365 days a year on five screens at the SIFF Cinema Egyptian, SIFF Cinema Uptown, and SIFF Film Center, reaching more than 120,000 attendees annually. SIFF Education offers educational programs for all audiences serving more than 13,000 students and youth in the community with free programs each year.