Black Film



Poison Fire - A short film about the Niger Delta region in Nigeria.


The Niger Delta is an environmental disaster zone after fifty years of oil exploitation.   One and a half million tons of crude oil has been spilled into the creeks, farms and forests, the equivalent to 50 Exxon Valdez disasters, one per year. Natural gas contained in the crude oil is not being collected, but burnt off in gas flares, burning day and night for decades. The flaring produces as much greenhouse gases as 18 million cars and emits toxic and carcinogenic substances in the midst of densely populated areas. Corruption is rampant, the security situation is dire, people are dying.  But the oil keeps flowing.

Poison Firefollows a team of local activists as they gather “video testimonies” from communities on the impact of oils spills and gas flaring. We see creeks full of crude oil, devastated mangrove forests, wellheads that has been leaking gas and oil for months. We meet  people whose survival is acutely threatened by the loss of farmland, fishing and drinking water and the health hazards of gas flaring. 

We also meet meet with Jonah Gbemre, who took Shell to court over the gas flaring in his village and won a surprise victory in the court.

Ifie Lott travels to the Netherlands to attend Shell’s Annual General Meeting. She wants to ask a simple question:  Is Shell going to obey the court order and stop flaring?  There is a demonstration outside  the meeting hall. Shell’s CEO shows up for the photo op and shakes her hand, and she meets the MD of Shell-Nigeria, Basil Omiyi.  She asks him about the spills and the flaring. He patiently explains Shell’s policies and efforts for social development, but what he says is at odds with reality on the ground.

Back in the Delta, Ifie returns to the communties and shows the taped interview with Omiyo to the victims of the oil industry…

Shell ignored the federal high court ruling. The oil companies continue the illegal gas flaring. Shell has set its own “flares out” deadline to end of 2009. But they have kept saying “next year” for a decade, and in the Delta nobody believes them.

Meanwhile, the oil keeps flowing.

Poison Fire

I’m reblogging this because of a twitter chat dynamicafrica had about incidents where lack of access to clean water and/or sanitation has caused a health crisis for communities. I immediately thought of the Niger Delta.


Idris Elba on set in Ghana for the screenplay adaptation of Beast of No Nation by Uzodinma Iweala.

Directed by Cary Fukunaga (same director for HBO’s True Detective and future director of “The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, And The Real Count of Monte Cristo”)

The story follows the journey of Agu, a young boy in an unnamed West African country who is recruited into a unit of guerrilla fighters as civil war engulfs his country. Not only must he face the harsh realities of the death of his father and disappearance of his mother and sister,he must also join a life of violence and brutality. Agu befriends a mute boy named Strika and together they face the crimes and hardships of war which includes violence,bloodshed and a very dangerous commander.

Other cast members include Award winning Ghanaian Actress Ama K. Abebrese, Grace Nortey and Opeyemi Fagbohungbe. The movie is set to be released in 2015



Producers of ‘Nairobi Half Life’ Release New Kenyan Drama ‘VEVE’.

Homegrown Kenyan political thriller ‘VEVE’ is an action-packed drama that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

Recently screened at this year’s Durban International Film Festival, where it had its world premiere, VEVE is the latest film from the producers of one of Kenya’s most talked about films Nairobi Half Life.

Set in the Kenyan town of Maua in the north of the country, VEVE is crime thriller that follows the lives of several characters as they find themselves navigating a world of political intrigue, revenge, love and ambitious aspirations for success, all centered around VEVE - a local term for the plant stimulant known more commonly as ‘khat’.

Directed by Simon Mukali and written by Natasha Likimani, the film stars a range of local actors including Emo Rugene as leading man ‘Kenzo’, Lowry Odhiambo as ‘Amos’, a shrewd businessman, and Lizz Njagah as ‘Esther’, Amos’ dissatisfied wife.

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A critical look into Mozambique’s past: Licínio Azevedo’s Virgin Margarida

In Frelimo’s (Mozambique’s party in power since independence) official story of its liberation struggle and its socialist project after independence, many aspects get silenced. One among these are the re-education centers to “purify” the “compromised” that had not yet adhered to the values of the “new man” that Frelimo intended to create. Alleged criminals, traitors, reactionaries, sex workers, alcoholics, vagrants, and religious fanatics were sent to camps in the countryside for an extended period of time, often without trial. The 20th New York African Film Festival at the Lincoln Center is featuring a film about Frelimo’s re-education centers, “Virgin Margarida” made by Licínio Azevedo (screening today at at 3:30 pm and on Monday, April 8, 8:30 pm). Licínio Azevedo is a veteran film maker, originally from Brazil, but has lived in Mozambique for a long time. We held a short Q&A, below, but first the trailer


TIFF 2014 Review: 'Stories of Our Lives' (Anthology Film Asks "If We Are Not Africans, What Are We?") →


Trailer for Spoek Mathambo’s upcoming ‘Future Sound of Mzansi’ documentary.

From Kwaito house and township funk, to Shangaan electro and
sghubu sapitori, South Africa has fast become home to a burgeoning and ever-growing culture of various inter-related strands of homegrown electronic music.

South African jack of many creative trades Spoek Mathambo is now using film to document the musical and cultural history, as well as the present state, of all these various genres of music in the country.

"We traveled around South Africa to explore our rich electronic music scene. For years there’s been a strong movement of producers, instrumentalists, vocalists and most importantly, party goers, giving themselves to new ideas of African electronic music…Our mission was simple, to meet up with some of our heroes, colleagues, competition, and co-conspirators…an ever potent gang of electronic music pioneers sculpting The Future Sound of Mzansi.”

via dynamicafrica:


Afronauts is a pre-thesis film by talented filmmaker Frances Bodomo.

It tells an alternative history of the 1960s Space Race; it’s July 16th 1969 the night of the moon landing. As America prepares to send Apollo 11 to the moon, a rag-tag group of exiles in the Zambian desert are trying to beat America to the same destination.

This project is based on a true story. In 1964, dreams of space travel led science school teacher Edward Makuka Nkoloso to found a National Space Academy of Science, Space Research, and Astronomical Research in an old farmhouse outside of Lusaka. Nkoloso was so serious about the mission, he applied for a £7,000,000 grant from U.N.E.S.C.O. which never came through.

He gathered together a disparate crew of a 17-year-old girl named Matha and two cats. He trained his potential astronauts by rolling them down hills in 44-gallon oil drums or cut the rope of a swing at its highest point to simulate weightlessness. We do not know what became of them, other than that Matha became pregnant and was taken away by her parents.

Colour photographs are from a Cristina de Middel project via African Digital Art

The black & white photos courtesy of Afronauts.