For LGBT film makers, the film festival circuit has become an alternative sanctuary of sorts. The film festival circuit in Africa and beyond provides a safe space for creators of LGBT film and art to promote their art and gain grants and much needed critical acclaim before they push it out into the much wider world. Three of the more prominent festivals on the continent are the Durban International Film Festival (in South Africa), the Carthage Film Festival (in Tunisia) and the Africa International Film Festival (in Nigeria) The 2017 edition of Tunisia’s Carthage Film Festival wrapped up with LGBT themed films winning big. All three have welcome art house films and LGBT filmmakers across the continent and given them a platform where the quality of their work is rated over its volatility. As such, filmmakers here have been encouraged so much that they are beginning to push the boundaries on the continent in terms of story telling and cinematography.
This year in particular has been great for LGBT themed cinema on the continent, and two films in particular, one from South Africa, and one from Tunisia are leading the charge. At the recently ended Carthage Film Festival, South Africa’s ‘The Wound’, which features openly gay singer, writer and actor Nakhane Toure and is directed by John Trengove was awarded the festival’s second highest honour, the Tanit D’Argent. Toure also gives a stellar performance as a gay man who undergoes an awakening during his initiation ceremony in South African male society and the ripples that event has on the rest of his life.
There was also the documentary by Nada Mezni Hafaiedh, “Upon the Shadow” which placed third in the festival’s documentary division. Hafaiedh’s documentary followed the lives of openly gay Tunisians and documented the stigma they faced and the persecution they endured in their quest for a full life.
We cannot wait to see how these films do in the coming year, as they make their way into international film circles. We wish them the best of luck.