We are proud to present the world premiere of Mugambi Nthiga’s directorial debut, LUSALA. Mugambi Nthiga previously co-wrote previous NBO Opening Night films Kati Kati and Supa Modo.
Lusala, tells the story of a young man rescued from his abusive upcountry home, who then moves in with an affluent Nairobi family. Years later, when he comes of age, he is imposed upon to leave the nest and start out life on his own. Eager and acquiescent at first, he makes the most of his new life, until the demons from his past return, and he is forced to face them alone.
SHORTS, SHORTS & SHOTS
FRIDAY 7th, 7:00 PM - 11:00 PM
Put on your shorts, grab a shot and let’s watch some short films at the Shorts, Shorts & Shots Mzalendo Special Night at the NBO Film Fest — in celebration of Madaraka Day and all things Kenyan. The 75 minute program curated by The Box(A Docubox spin off) in partnership with the British Council, will feature some of Kenya's very best short films. Come dressed in all your national colours, watch some great Kenyan short films and drink some red, green, white and black shots.
SATURDAY 8th, 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM
Simon Rouby’s “Adama” is a period odyssey-come-coming-of-age tale(a mouthful) and a story of young courage. The film tells the story of 12-year-old Adama who lives in a remote West African village, surrounded by forbidden cliffs. When his elder brother disappears, Adama sets off to find him, defying the village elders. His quest takes him over the seas, to the cold dark North, to the hell-on-earth battle of Verdun, in World War I. The year is 1916.
SATURDAY 8th, 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM
Zimbabwe's first post-Mugabe feature film, Cook Off tells the unlikely story of single mother, Anesu's life as it is turned upside down when her son enters her into a reality TV cooking competition. A refreshing view of contemporary life in Harare, Zimbabwe, told through the lens of a classic romantic comedy.
It has screened at a range of international festivals including Rotterdam and Seattle, and had its Africa premiere at Durban.
SATURDAY 8th, 4:30 PM - 6:30 PM
A free-spirited young girl, in Lamu struggles to live out her unique dream of swimming in the ocean, against local customs and an arranged upper- class marriage. Does Subira have the courage to take her dream on, against all odds?
Fernando Meirelles & Kátia Lund
CITY OF GOD
SATURDAY 8th, 7:00 PM - 10:30 PM
"If you run, the beast catches you; if you stay, the beast eats you."
In the poverty-stricken favelas of Rio de Janeiro in the 1970s, two young men choose different paths. Rocket is a budding photographer who documents the increasing drug-related violence of his neighborhood. José "Zé" Pequeno is an ambitious drug dealer who uses Rocket and his photos as a way to increase his fame as a turf war erupts with his rival, "Knockout Ned". Welcome to the City of God.
NBO Film Festival is proud to host community screenings of “City of God” with the kind support of Fernando Meirelles.
SUNDAY 9th, 10:00 aM - 12:00 PM
It's the 80s Ghana and the train is the only means of transport from the outskirts. A couple - BOI (Adjetey Anang) and ATSWEI (Lydia Forson) is bent on delivering their first baby in Akete but misses their first train. A wrong decision finds them in the middle of nowhere. Will they make it on time for the delivery, or, risk losing the baby and mother?
Natalia Cabral & Oriol Estrada
SUNDAY 9th, 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM
A daughter of a black father and a white mother in the Dominican Republic, Miriam is a young woman about to celebrate her 15th birthday and present her black boyfriend to the family. In the midst of so many conflicts and changes in her teenage years, Miriam does not know how to deal with the expectations of her mother Tere regarding her love life and, despite her color and origin, she fears what her reaction will be when she meets the boy .
tALKING ABOUT TREES
SUNDAY 9th, 4:30 PM - 7:00 PM
Suliman and three further members of the ‘Sudanese Film Club’ have decided to revive an old cinema. They are united not only by their love of cinema and their passionate desire to restore old film stock and draw attention to Sudanese film history once more, but also by the fact that they have all enjoyed a film education in exile.
Tirelessly, they try to get the cinema’s owners on their side and make the place operational again, but repeatedly find themselves up against considerable resistance. In the meantime, they sit together and talk about the past – including their experiences of persecution and even torture as oppositional artists. They also read out old letters written while in exile and dream of a Sudan in which art and intellectual thought can be free. ‘We are smarter than them, but not as strong,’ is how they unanimously summarise their situation. It is in laconic moments such as these that the viewer is able to perceive the friendship, as well as the bond and ideological solidarity that exists in the struggle for common ideals.
Suhaib Gasmelbari puts the history of Sudanese cinema at the centre of his film and at the same time sheds light on the current situation in a country shaken by ongoing crises.
For those who prefer to watch movies in the comfort of their own streaming services, the eye-opening documentary Talking About Trees may make them reconsider the value, both cultural and political, of being able to see something on the big screen.
SUNDAY 9th, 7:30 PM - 10:00 PM
The director Icíar Bollaín presents the story of the Cuban dancer Carlos Acosta, a legend on the dance world and the first black dancer to perform some of the most famous ballet roles. A dancer who did not want to dance
This energetic, emotionally reflective movie follows a legend on the dance world from scrappy juvenile tearaway to ballet superstar — growing up on the streets of his native Cuba, through his time at the country's National Dance School, to performing at London's prestigious Royal Ballet. It’s directed by Icíar Bollaín from a script that adapts the dancer’s memoir. Acosta even makes an appearance, playing himself now, in Cuba to put on a show about his life.
MONDAY 10th, 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
The Tokoloshe is a South African supernatural horror feature film directed by Jerome PikwaneBusi that follows a destitute woman with seriously repressed emotions, lands a job as a cleaner at a run down hospital in the heart of Johannesburg. Desperate for money so she can also relocate her younger sister, she learns to cope despite the predatory and corrupt hospital manager.
However, when Busi discovers an abandoned girl in the hospital, one who believes she’s tormented by supernatural forces, she must also face her own past demons in order to save the child from the monster that pursues them both relentlessly.
SEW THE WINTER TO MY SKIN
WEDNESDAY 12th, 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
In a racially-charged and violent 1950's rural South Africa, a liberal journalist recounts the epic chase, edge-of-your-seat capture and intriguing trial of a flamboyant, native "Robin Hood". His captivating re-imagining, paints a portrait of a divisive outlaw - hunted by the Republic, elusive even to his loved ones, all whilst remaining a champion of the disenchanted.
Aaron Kopp & Amanda Kopp
SATURDAY 15th, 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Back at the festival due to popular demand, Liyana is a unique film told by five orphaned children under the guidance of acclaimed South African storyteller, Gcina Mhlophe. Together they craft an original fairytale drawn from their darkest memories and brightest dreams. Their fictional character, Liyana, is brought to life in innovative animated artwork as she embarks on a dangerous quest to rescue her young twin brothers. Their fictional character's journey is interwoven with poetic and observational documentary scenes to create a genre-defying celebration of collective storytelling.
SATURDAY 15th, 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM
Akasha is a 2018 Sudanese comedic film written and directed by Hajooj Kuka about a Sundanese soldier caught between his love for his girlfriend and his AK-47. The film is a universal offbeat love story set in a time of civil war - but the war is in Sudan and it is happening right now. We follow Adnan, an AK47-loving rebel, his long-suffering love interest, Lina, and the army dodging Absi, over a fateful 24 hours in a rebel-held area of Sudan.
MERCY OF THE JUNGLE
SATURDAY 15th, 7:30 PM - 10:00 PM
The Mercy of the Jungle is an award winning road film from Rwandan director Joël Karekezi that deals with wars in Congo through the eyes of two lost soldiers in the jungle by showcasing their struggle, weakness and hope.
Under the relentless command of MAJOR KAYITARE, a unit of soldiers march eighty kilometers a day in pursuit of the murderers of nearly one million Tutsis during the Rwandan genocide four years prior. One night, two of the soldiers are accidentally left behind when the battalion races out to chase fleeing rebels. They try to catch up, but must take refuge in the forest when local Congolese militiamen catch sight of them. Lost, with no hope of catching their men, they decide to press west through the jungle toward Kasai Province where Xavier believes the Major is headed next.
The journey will not be easy.
The Extraordinary Journey of Celeste Garcia
SundAY 16th, 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
How many light years should you travel to find happiness? The Extraordinary Journey of Celeste Garcia is Cuban magical-realist comedy written and directed by Arturo Infante.
Celeste is a widow living a tranquil, unadventurous existence in Havana, fulfilling her daily shifts as a tour guide at the local planetarium. One day when several "Cubans" mysteriously vanish into thin air, the government announces that aliens have been living in Cuban society disguised as humans, and that these foreign guests are now returning the favour by inviting humans to visit their far-away world. It all makes perfect sense to Celeste - she had always thought that her "Russian" neighbour Pauline was eccentric, but now learns she was truly from another planet. Celeste discovers that Pauline has left her a personal invitation to join her and joins the government preparation program to journey to the far unknown.
FIVE FINGERS FROM MARSEILLE
SundAY 16th, 1:00 PM - 3:30 PM
Five Fingers for Marseilles is a South African Western thriller film directed by Michael Matthews.
Twenty years ago, the young 'Five Fingers' fought for the rural town of Marseilles, against brutal police oppression. Now, after fleeing in disgrace, freedom-fighter-turned-'outlaw' Tau returns to Marseilles, seeking only a peaceful pastoral life. When he finds the town under new threat, he must reluctantly fight to free it. can he free himself from his past? Will the Five Fingers stand again?
Samuel “BLITZ THE AMBASSADOR” Bazawule
THE BURIAL OF KOJO
SundAY 16th, 7:30 PM - 10:00 PM
We have the pleasure of having The Burial of Kojo as our festival’s closing film. Directed by Blitz The Ambassador, the film follows the story of Esi, as she recounts her childhood and the tumultuous relationship between her father, Kojo and her uncle, Kwabena.
After Kojo goes missing on an illegal mining expedition with Kwabena, Esi embarks on a magical adventure to rescue her father.