Danish Film Institute backs film culture in Tanzania, Uganda
by Jorn Rossing Jensen
23/06/2011 - The Danish Film Institute is a familiar face at Cannes, Berlin and other international film festivals, but it also flies the Danish colours in more remote parts of the world.
When the 14th Zanzibar International Film Festival ends on June 26, local schoolboys and girls will have attended a special section of films for children and young audiences, organised with the Danish Film Institute.
During the past couple of years, the institute has assisted in setting up and programming Panorama: Children & Film, this time with entries from Algeria, Chile, Kenya and Germany, adding ten kid pics from Denmark.
Danish director Espen Toft Andersen's Berlinale contender The Great Bear [trailer] - which will shortly reach Tanzanian cinemas - opened the showcase, which also included Vibeke Muasya's Lost in Africa [trailer] (photo).
The Danish film centre also supported Film for Change, a workshop on cinema and social changes, focusing on African film in general, media access, representation strategies and communication rights for marginal groups.
Meanwhile, in Uganda, the institute has joined forces with the Danish Center of Culture and Development, the Danish Embassy and the local Maisha Foundation to stage a three-year culture programme, Youth & Film Uganda, which will combine mobile cinemas, film festivals, master classes for professionals and film production tutorials.
"The initiative is meant to introduce films to children who didn't get the chance to be children," explained Miriam Odoka, representing the Maisha Film Lab. "Watching and making films should enable them to expand their perspective on life so they can engage in a dialogue with the rest of the world."
The Maisha Film Lab's motto is: "If we don't tell our stories, nobody else will." Focusing on teenagers aged 13-19 (in a country where the average age is 15), Youth & Film Uganda tour two Danish features in Uganda, Niels Arden Oplev's We Shall Overcome [trailer] and Natasha Arthy's Fighter [trailer].