Caroline Kamya’s Imani tells three touching stories of modern life in Uganda. The director will be present at the screennings of the film during HAFF.

The second Helsinki African Film Festival is upon us.

MID-May sees the second African Film Festival take place in Helsinki, with films from the continent screened at Andorra and Kiasma. The festival took off for the first time last year and did so with a bang: most of the films screened to sold out theatres as people swarmed to catch a glimpse of real Africa.

12-15 May
Tickets €7.50

“The aim of the festival is to give people a hint of the diversity of the continent,” festival director Wanjiku wa Ngugi says. “Africa is still a myth, it’s seen through one lens, and the news create only a negative image of the continent. I wanted to create the festival in order to offer people a different point of view.”

The theme for this year’s festival is Women’s Voices, gathering together 13 fiction films, three documentaries and one short film where women play a key role either behind the camera or in front of it. “The film industry in Africa has been dominated by men for years and finding films by women was not all that easy, although women filmmakers have really stepped up in the recent years,” wa Ngugi explains.

Africa in art

IN CELEBRATION of the 50th exhibition of the series, this year ARS 11 introduces the theme of Africa in contemporary art. A variety of different art mediums will be displayed in nine cities in Finland, as well as in Stockholm.

Approaching Africa as a broad cultural concept, ARS 11 features the work of a number of artists of African origin no longer living in their native country. Various works by Western artists whose work consistently addresses African subject matter are also seen.

Helping widen the notion of African art in the modern context, themes include the status of women in African culture and pertinent environmental topics, migration, refugee issues and the role of Africa in the global economy.

James O’Sullivan

ARS 11
15 April-27 November

The films screened during the festival comprise various genres, but all share the common thread of shedding light to the lives of women in different countries across the Africa. “The films cover some serious and powerful themes, but they also contain a touch of humour.”

Although the festival is concentrated in the capital, a selection of the films will be screened across the country in regional theatres.

Petra Nyman