UK’s five biggest festivals of African film team up to present online showcase

© The Wedding Ring, Rahmatou Keïta, Niger/Sonrhay Empire Productions 2016

The UK’s five biggest festivals of African film – Africa in Motion in Edinburgh/Glasgow, Afrika Eye in Bristol, the Cambridge African Film Festival (CAFF), Film Africa in London, and Watch-Africa Cymru (Wales) – are teaming up online for the first time this October to present “We Are Tano”, showcasing ten of the best examples of African cinema from the past decade.

The season, which draws its title from the Swahili word ‘tano’, meaning five, will run online from 1st October to 20th October, as part of Black History Month, giving UK-wide audiences pay-what-you-want access to a choice of 10 stand-out African films.

The initiative is being co-ordinated by Sheila Ruiz, Director of London’s Film Africa and Deputy Director at the Royal African Society, who says:

COVID-19 has presented major challenges to many film festivals this year. But, as with all crises, the current pandemic has also presented an opportunity to do things differently.

All five festivals in the TANO network felt it important to carry on giving UK audiences access to the broad range of films coming out of Africa. Hence the decision to contribute to Black History Month with a jointly curated online showcase, drawing on some of the most popular titles shown by TANO festivals since 2010.

Christine Patterson, the festival producer for Watch-Africa film festival, added:

The purpose of this season is to continue our mission to highlight the vibrancy and rich diversity of African film-making and story-telling.We are passionate about expanding people’s understanding and appreciation of African film and cultures across the UK, and we aim to reach as wide an audience as possible, especially audiences that have not been able to attend our festivals in person.

Among the films chosen for the showcase are:

  1. ‘Un homme qui cri’ (Chad/France, 2010) by Cannes Jury Prize winner Mahomet Saleh Haroun; Alain Gomis’s
  2. ‘Tey/ Aujourd’hui,’ (France/Senegal), voted best international film at Berlin in 2012;
  3. ‘As I open my eyes’ (Tunisia, 2015) , directed by Venice prize-winner Leyla Bouzid, and the mischievously comic docu-drama
  4. ‘Film festival film’ (Namibia, South Africa, 2019).

Full details of the “We Are Tano” selections and streaming calendar will be available shortly from www.wearetano.org.  In return for a pay-what-you-can-afford donation, attendees will have up to 48 hours to view their choices, alone or with family/friends.

Meanwhile, further information about the Tano network and its previous collaborations can be accessed now via https://www.africa-in-motion.org.uk/we-are-tano/.

Other celebrations of African cinema taking place this autumn/winter by TANO network members include:
Africa in Motion (Scotland): www.africa-in-motion.org.uk | 30 October – 29 November 2020 and
Film Africa (London): www.filmafrica.org | 30 October – 8 November 2020

For news about the other TANO network festivals, please visit:

WE ARE TANO is supported by the BFI Audience Fund.

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