African Film Series & Conversation with Mahamat-Saleh Haroun

When: Saturday, November 9, 2013
Where: Various locations

France-Atlanta, in partnership with the BronzeLens Film Festival and Africa-Atlanta, was thrilled to bring another exciting French African Film Series to the 4th Annual BronzeLens Film Festival. Dedicated to bringing national and worldwide attention to Atlanta as an epicenter film and film production for people of color, the BronzeLens shares France’s passion for cinema and its commitment to support diversity in film.

The 2013 African Film Series put the spotlight on one of Africa’s hottest directors today, Mahamat-Saleh Haroun. After dazzling the world at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival for his film, A Screaming Man, Haroun was the only director of the African Diaspora to present a film in competition at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival. The BronzeLens will screen several of his films in order to prepare festival goers for an intimate conversation with Mahamat-Saleh Haroun, himself, on Saturday, November 9, 2013, following the screening of his 2013 film, Grisgris.

Conversation with Mahamat-Saleh Haroun
When: Saturday, November 9 from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Where: Georgia Pacific Theatre (133 Peachtree Street, Atlanta, GA 30303)

Following the screening of his 2013 film, Grisgris, Mahamat-Saleh Haroun was present for a conversation animated by fellow filmmaker and Chief Editor and writer for Shadow & Act, Tambay A. Obenson. Fans, film-lovers, and budding artists were able to hear from Haroun about his work and creative process.

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Haroun shared with Obenson about his newest film Grisgris, which was awarded the Best International Feature at the BronzeLens 2013.
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Tambay A. Obenson and Mahamat-Saleh Haroun pose with festival organizers Terry Vismale-Morris and Deidre McDonald.
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Photo credit: Nicolas Thévenin

Born in Chad in 1961, Mahamat-Saleh Haroun left the country during the civil war of the 1980s and relocated to France. There he worked as a journalist before studying at the Conservatoire Libre du Cinéma in Paris. He made his first feature film, Bye Bye Africa, in 1999. Considered today as one of the leading lights in African cinema, Haroun shoots primarily in Chad, and has produced six feature films and a number of shorts. He excels at spinning narratives that begin with easily recognizable situations – usually the loss of a parent – and expand to encompass allegorical and political reflection on the state of Chadian society. Often calm on the surface, Haroun’s filmmaking belies this calm with simmering strains of anger and melancholy. While occasionally compared to the work of Iranian directors Abbas Kiarostami and Mohsen Makhmalbaf, perhaps because of their deceptively quiet surfaces, Haroun’s films recognizably belong to an African tradition of filmmaking stretching from Ousmane Sembene to Abderrahmane Sissako that considers the place of cinema in a postcolonial Africa and, by extension, in a postcolonial world. —

African Film Series Screenings

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Bye Bye Africa (1999). 86 minutes.
Where: Hyatt Regency Atlanta Learning Center (265 Peachtree St NE, Atlanta, GA 30303)
When: Saturday, November 9 at 10:50 a.m.

A Chadian film director who lives and works in France (Haroun) returns home upon the death of his mother. He is shocked at the degraded state of the country and the national cinema. Encountering skepticism from his family members about his chosen career, Haroun tries to defend himself by quoting Jean-Luc Godard: "The cinema creates memories." The filmmaker decides to make a film dedicated to his mother entitled Bye Bye Africa but immediately encounters major problems. Cinemas have closed and financing is impossible to secure. The director reunites with an old girlfriend (Yelena), who was shunned by Chadians who could not distinguish between film and reality after appearing in one of his previous films as an HIV victim. Haroun learns about the destruction of the African cinema from directors in neighboring countries, but also finds Issa Serge Coelo shooting his first film, Daressalam. Things go badly and, convinced that it is impossible to make films in Africa, Haroun departs Chad in despair, leaving his film camera to a young boy who had been assisting him.

A Screaming Man A Screaming Man (2010). 92 minutes.
Where: Hyatt Regency Atlanta Learning Center (265 Peachtree St NE, Atlanta, GA 30303)
When: Saturday, November 9 at 12:30 p.m.

Adam, a 60-something former swimming champion, is a pool attendant at a hotel in Chad. When the hotel gets taken over by new Chinese owners, he is forced to give up his job to his son, Abdel, leaving Adam humiliated and resentful. Meanwhile the country is in the throes of civil war. Rebel forces attack the government while the authorities demand the population to contribute to the "war effort," with money or volunteers old enough to fight. The District Chief constantly harasses Adam for his contribution. But Adam is penniless; he only has his son. In a moment of weakness, Adam makes a decision that he will forever regret. The film won the Jury Prize at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival. Click here to view the trailer.

The screening for these movies requires the purchase of a $10 day pass. To purchase the day pass, please click here.

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© Pili Films, Frank Verdier

Grisgris (2013). 101 minutes.
Where: Georgia Pacific (133 Peachtree St, Atlanta, GA 30303)
When: Saturday, November 9 at 4.15 p.m.

Despite a paralyzed leg that could have barred most avenues, Grigris dreams of being a dancer. A challenge. But his dreams are dashed when his father-in-law falls critically ill. To save him, Grigris resolves to work for petrol traffickers… Winner of the Vulcain Prize, 2013 Cannes Film Festival. Click here to view the trailer.

This event is presented with with the support of:

Bronzelens - copie- footnote Africa Atlanta partner logo-105 75- Institut Français

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FM 150

and with the participation of the Cinémathèque Afrique of the Institut Français.