The Curtains have finally been drawn upon the first ever African Film festival to be held in Nepal.
The event whose theme was “Seeing Africa through the African lens” saw nine films selected from six African countries – Egypt, South Africa, Zambia, Congo, Uganda and Kenya. The festival meant to create awareness on the African life and culture in Nepal was a product of collaboration between CJMC and its African partners under the FK Norway program.
the Ambassador to the Arab Republic of Egypt Dr. H.E. Dr. Moustafa Gendy, commended the organizers for timeliness and their choice of film as a tool to promote inter cultural understating.
“Film and art can lead to better understanding and foster communication between peoples of diverse cultures, races, and lifestyles, while at the same time, serve as a vehicle to initiate dialogue on the important issues of our times,” said H.E. Dr. Moustafa Gendy.
“How appropriate that this event falls within the week in which we mark the celebrations of African Day 25th of May as set aside by African Union,” he added.(Read the full speech here)
H.E. Dr. Sergey V. Velichkin, Ambassador of the Russia Federation who was also present at the function echoed the Egyptian Ambassadors sentiments said that Russian centre of Science and Culture it was happy to host historical event and echoed the Egyptian ambassador’s comments stating that “Film is one of the most influencing media to tell the story of humankind.”
Dr. Manju Mishra, Festival Director and Principal of the College of Journalisms and Mass Communication (CJMC), while welcoming guest emphasized the importance of communication as a vehicle to change in society noting that “Democracy and human rights can be strengthened when media and social entrepreneurs progress.”
Others who spoke during the opening ceremony include the Mr. Pradeep Kumar Shrestha, Honorary Consul, the Republic of South Africa, Hon. Ek Nath Dhakal, President UPF-Nepal and Member of Parliament and Mr. Nabin Subba, Chairman of Indigenous Film Archive and Nepali Film Maker.
The films presented at the festival were in different genres including real life stories, documentaries, and drama while the themes ranged from love, peace, girl child education and religious tolerance.
Hassan and Morqos, a film from Egypt was the curtain raiser at event. The film which is about friendship between two men one Muslim and the other a Christian was a satirical presentation that left the audience laughing but sent home the message on the importance of Religious tolerance.
“I had never watched any films from Africa before, this film from Egypt has really changed my view on the African continent and it’s potential in the film industry,” Said one member of the audience.
The second film Suwi from Zambia highlighted the plight of an orphaned girl in modern times, while the third film of the day Cry freedom proved to be quite an inspirational movie that focused on the Life of Steve Biko during the struggle against apartheid in South Africa. The day closed on peaceful note with a Osutua (meaning peace) a production from the National Museums of Kenya focusing on how clans from the Massai community resolve conflict.
By the end of the first day over 400 people walk through the gates of the Russian Cultural Centre to view the films.
The morning session saw two films Congo River and Tough Choices from Kenya aired. Congo River focused on the lives of the people living along the river while Tough Choices was a classic display of the the challenges of peer pressure as faced by teenagers. The afternoon session began an exciting film on intricacies of love and marriage in an African through the film Down this Road I Walk. The session ended with a moving film In search of the Riyal which is a heart rendering films on the plight of immigrants in Gulf states.
“I am so glad I came for the festival. It was interesting to see issues of early marriages, teenage pregnancies and girl child education as portrayed in Tough choices and Down this road I walk. This two issues helped me understand how similar Nepal is to Africa as we both face the same challenges,” Anita Bhattari, a second year anthropology student commented after the morning session.
Hearts in pieces from Uganda offered a reflection on the importance dowry in an African context while while Katanga business highlights f rich African resources while and Suwi highlight the issues of girl child education and the rights of disabled people in the community.
The African partners in the project include i.e Association of Media women in Kenya (AMWIK), Ethiopia Media Women Association (EMWA), Tanzania Media Women Association (TAMWA), Uganda Media Women Association (UMWA) and Zambia Media Women Association (ZAMWA). The CJMC were the main organizers of the event.
The event would have not been possible without the financial, moral and technical support from our partners who all deserve special mention. Key to th success of the event was the experience and expertise of Film Coordinator Alok Tewari who has worked tirelessly on the event since it’s inception.
Others involved in the Festival include: The Egyptian embassy and the Honorary South African consul each contributed four films. One film from Egypt and South Africa were shown. The Nepal Francophone speaking society in Nepal also helped in sourcing movies with French subtitles.
The Alliance Francaise- Kathmandu through its Director Elise Tassin, were very helpful in publicizing the event in it their Bazaar ( A newsletter distributed to over 2000 of French expatriate sin Nepal) as well as offering technical advice from their experience in conducting festivals. This was especially helpful in regards to respecting copyrights of film makers.
The Festival also falls within the week of the celebration of UN Africa Day worldwide. As such, the Universal Peace Federation – Nepal (UPF- Nepal) Chapter gave some financial support which went towards securing the venue for the event. UPF-Nepal also used the occasion to mark the celebrations of African Day and send a report of the event to New York and Addis Ababa during the celebrations of African Day
The Nepal Tourism Board (NTB), gave a lot moral support in addition to sponsoring and hosing a press conference conducted on the 19th of May in which over 20 journalists attended and covered the event. Indeed we had a taste of Nepali hospitality.
The event also attracted support from the local media and the business community with Kantipur TV, Himalaya Newspapers and Image Channel in Nepal who were the official media without the publicity; we would have faced an empty theater hall.
Last but not least we appreciate the event Host Russian Centre of Science and Culture for their hospitality and whose state of the art venue was quite convenient while their equipment worked without any hitches. This was very helpful in ensuring the smooth running of the schedule. The Russian Cultural Centre, the event hosts also deserve a word of thanks for their generous discount to host the event.
I am happy to have had the privilege to work and be associated with this history making event courtesy of FK Norway. We highly treasure the certificate of appreciation presented to us by the Minister of Communication. I hope that the festival will be a starting point in promoting inter cultural relations with the African countries and that we can soon have a Nepal Film Festival in one of the African Countries