The two winning films from MOFILM’s Guinness Africa contest were broadcast on Pan-African TV this month, spurring us to take a look back at this landmark campaign. The contest was MOFILM’s first chance to really engage in Africa and to connect with African filmmakers who are telling authentic, contemporary stories specific to that region’s culture.
Guinness has been sold in Africa since the early nineteen hundreds and today, Africa accounts for about 40 percent of the volume of Guinness brewed and sold globally. Guinness came to us looking to build on its strong heritage in Africa, while updating it for a new generation of stout drinkers. The brand wanted to tap in to authentic stories about the new generation of positive minded individuals who make up an integral part of the Africa of now. Showcasing people who emulate this bold new spirit and who are “made of more”.
As this was MOFILM’s first contest to be open only to African filmmakers, we set out on a Pan-continent roadshow to connect with up-and-coming creators in the region visiting Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa, to tell filmmakers about the Guinness contest and MOFILM in general. It was an amazing experience to meet so many people who were so passionate about telling stories and as a result of our efforts overseas we were overrun with incredible entries.
On judging day, the quality was so good, that Guinness decided to award a joint first place prize. The winning films were premiered at the African International Film Festival in 2014 before broadcasting both on Pan-African TV.
Peter Walker – Dark
Peter worked as a senior creative in the advertising industry for years, wining many awards and high profile recognition for his work. Eventually he decided that he was tired of coming up with great ideas that were executed by someone else and decided to make films himself. He started a small production company with his partner, Annalize, and has never looked back. He’s recently become a proud dad, so now has to juggle filmmaking with power naps and changing nappies.
Like all of the filmmakers we reached out to in Africa, Peter was excited and enthusiastic about showcasing what Africa was made of. He found that the brief really resonated with the type of story he wanted to tell and decided to focus in on the problem of “loadshedding”. A huge issue, particularly in South Africa and Nigeria, loadshedding is the sudden loss of power for hours and even days at a time. Peter wanted to look at the positive way people embraced these periods of darkness and demonstrate that when the lights go off things are still happening, people are still creating and new and exciting things can come out of the dark. This phenomenon for him perfectly captured the spirit of the young generation in Africa, they have the mindset and drive to embrace the opportunity as opposed to surrender to the inconvenience.
Fabian – Who am I?
Fabian has always had a desire to tell stories and been passionate about the world and peoples lives around him. His route in to film was slightly more traditional then Peter’s studying directing and cinematography at the prestigious South African film school AFDA. Ever since his AFDA days Fabian’s passion for filmmaking has grown and grown achieving a great deal of recognition for his talent and work, including an invitation to attend the Berlinale Talent Campus in 2012. With this brief for Guinness, Fabian saw another opportunity to showcase his talent and flair for storytelling on a brief that resonated perfectly with his interest in telling stories about the Africa of today.
Fabian honed in on the idea of creating an inspiring film that would speak to African men and women, many of whom felt burdened by their past and by a lack of education and opportunities. He wanted his story to show young individuals in Africa that the possibility to be who they want to be is infinite, so long as there is a will, there is a way. His piece follows the movement of African people – a humble and proud people that stand firm in their belief of turning hardship into something incredibly positive and creative. It speaks of new generation Africa; Standing proud on where they have come from and confident in where they are going.
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