Alex Moussa in the Arsenal - Institute for Film and Video Art, November 2019.
Alex Moussa Sawadogo, the artistical director of the Afrikamera Filmfestival studied art history in Ouagadougou and culture and media management in Hamburg. In 1997, together with his former classmates Uta Rügner and Florian Wachinger they founded the Afrikamera Filmfestival in Berlin that takes place each November at the Arsenal Cinema. Specialized in both film and dance, Moussa Sawadogo has already a broad curatorial record across many film festivals ranging from FESPACO, Open Doors Locarno, Lausanne African Film festival to the Short Film Festival Winterthur as well as having conceived and curated several African dance festivals at Hebbel am Ufer theater amongst others. As the founder of Ouaga Film Lab – a platform for co-production and film development in Burkina Faso – Alex Moussa has a long-term devotion to connect and support African filmmakers and bring contemporary African cinema beyond stereotypes to western mainstream awareness.
Opening celebrations in the Arsenal lobby, Social Impact Brunch Networking Hub (bottom right), November 2019.
“The day I will go to the Cineplex, to Neukölln Arcaden or to the Cinema Movimento and will see big posters of African cinema, like German, French or other countries that are displayed like that, I am ready to stop the Festival“
Ery Claver (director) attending his own screening and giving answers in a Q&A, November 2019.
Alex Moussa, always on the run for his mission, watches more than 1000 African movies a year, many of these directly being sent to him by filmmakers across the African continent, since there is a great chance that they got to know Alex Moussa personally during one of his many worldwide film activities.
Afrikamera comes up with a new theme each year that allows the Berlin audience to understand the diversity of African cinema. Past themes were based on regional and socio-political aspects and going from “African Women behind and infront the screen”, Queer African cinema to this years 2019 edition with a focus on the way too underrepresented Lusofonian cinema.
Graphic-Campaign for Afrikamera‘s 2019 Africa Lusofonia Edition – Social media channels of Facebook and Instagram created and managed by MAGMA.
Portraits (left to right) Festival director Alex Moussa Sawadogo, rapper & filmmaker Baloji and film director Yuri Ceuninck.
Portraits (left to right) DOP Pipas Forjaz, performance artist & actress Rebecca Pokua Korang and director Philbert Aime Mbabazi.
Portraits (left to right) filmproducer Florian Schewe, film director Michel K. Zongo, journalist and film critic Djia Mambu.
Michel K. Zongo portrait & Graphic-Campaign for Afrikamera‘s 2019 Africa Lusofonia Edition – Social media channels of Facebook and Instagram created and managed by MAGMA.
Mickey Fonseca portrait & Graphic-Campaign for Afrikamera‘s 2019 Africa Lusofonia Edition – Social media channels of Facebook and Instagram created and managed by MAGMA.
Peter Sedoufia portrait & Graphic-Campaign for Afrikamera‘s 2019 Africa Lusofonia Edition – Social media channels of Facebook and Instagram created and managed by MAGMA.
Afrikamera is well appreciated amongst its guest-filmmakers and visitors for its professionality and uniqueness in curatorial choice and most importantly its effort to connect different African filmmakers amongst each other as well as with German filmmakers, producers and the audience. Hence, Africamera is way more than just a film festival with screenings. It offers a whole package of parallel programmed workshops and scheduled networking meetings for Afrikamera-guests to find partners and discuss matters of film promotion and financing, scriptwriting and questions about the realization of international co-productions. In collaboration with Ouaga Film Lab, Afrikamera even started to offer its own one-month long scholarship-based filmmaking residency for young African filmmakers.
Director Mama Keïta, Christine Tröstrum (Berlinale Talents) and Florian Schewe attending the workshops at Arsenal, Berlin.
“We realized that contemporary African cinema, that is to say new African cinema, had not yet been to Berlin.That's what also pushed us to create a platform that will last for a few days where we can really put Berlin audiences and African filmmakers in place.”
Left to right: Wayne Snow (Nigerian musician), Philbert Mbabazi (Oscar nominated director and screenwriter) , Alassane Si (actor/ director), Baloji (rapper/director) and Alex Moussa at the lobby of Arsenal, Berlin.
Despite existing for 12 years and having loyal partners like Heinrich-Boell-Stiftung and Institute français, Afrikamera faces each year the same financial struggle to keep the festival running and developing. Nevertheless, the team around Moussa remains motivated and tireless in the fight for a greater representation of the vast African cinema landscape in Berlin.
Afrikamera team posing for the cameras on the last day of the event, November 2019.
“In Berlin and Germany in general, but especially in Berlin, it's very difficult.You have to know it because financial partners are not always easy to find. And I'm really proud, personally, to have a team like I have. People who are very committed, who have a passion for what they do, who give everything for the project, and many volunteers who also don't hesitate to take responsibility. And what's interesting is that we have partners who decide to accompany us in a loyal and honest manner, that’s what’s strong! [...] So, all this to say that we together have started something with the festival where our goal is that African cinema, at the level of Germany, is accepted, seen, or known the same way as Western cinema. We haven't arrived yet.”