Palm Springs Film Fest to Spotlight African Cinema

"Cinema Safari" will show 13 films that were made in Africa or spotlight modern African stories and themes.

The Palm Springs International Film Festival, which runs from Jan. 6-17, will present a new program spotlighting African Cinema.

The program, dubbed Cinema Safari: A Showcase of African Cinema, will present 13 new films made in Africa or presenting contemporary African stories or themes.

"Our African films showcase reflects our delight at the discovery of a vital new arena in world filmmaking, with the emergence of a large number of bold new talents and singular stories from a continent that has not previously been known for its wealth of cinematic storytelling," festival director Darryl Macdonald said.

The section will include Debs Gardner-Paterson's Africa United; Davey Frankel and Rasselas Lakew's The Athlete; Sherry Hormann's Desert Flower; Gabriel Range's I Am Slave; Caroline Kamya's Imani; Claus Wischmann's Kinshasa Symphony; The Last Lions; Lance Bangs' The Lazarus Effect; Oliver Schmitz's Life Above All; Michael Henry Wilson's Reconciliation: Mandela's Miracle; Mahamat-Saleh Haroun's A Screaming Man; and Hawa Essuman's Soul Boy.

The fest has also released the line-up of films that will compete for the FIPRESCI Award, New Voices/New Visions Award and John Schlesinger Awards.

The titles in the New Voices/New Visions lineup, which focuses on international directors making their feature debut, are Emre Sahin's 40; Johannes Naber's The Albanian; Juanita Wilso's As If I Am Not There; Pernilla August's Beyond; Vardis Marinakis' Black Field; Edoardo Leo's Eighteen Years Later; Alexandru Maftei's Hello! How Are You?; Mikkel Munch-Fals' Nothing's All Bad; Hans Van Nuffel's Oxygen; Emilio Aragon's Paper Birds; Ola Simonsson and Stjarne Nilsson's Sound of Noise; and Nayra Illic's Square Meter.

Ten documentaries by first-time filmmakers will compete for the John Schlesinger Award. They are Clio Barnard's The Arbor, Jan Tenhaven's Autumn Gold; Richard Press' Bill Cunningham New York; David Sievekin's David Wants to Fly; Edmon Roch's Garbo: The Spy; Nicola Belluci's In the Garden of Sounds; Risteard O'Domhnail's The Pipe; Shlomi Eldar's Precious Life; Joonas Berghall's Steam of Life; and Lynn Trues Summer Pasture.

The festival will also screen 40 of the 64 films that have been submitted for an Academy Award in the foreign-language film category.