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European Union Invests in Africa's Film Industry

People watching a movie at the European Union Film Festival held in Harare
People watching a movie at the European Union Film Festival held in Harare

Experts say they applaud the European Union for its attempts to uplift African film makers through its annual EU Film Festival, which is facilitated globally and focused on empowering movie makers.

For more on the festival, VOA’s Mike Hove spoke to Roberta Wagner, a facilitator of the EU Film Festival which is currently in Zimbabwe.

EU Festival Facilitator Speaks on Africa Film Industry Growth
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The interview was edited for brevity and clarity.

VOA: Tell us more about the EU Film Festival

Wagner: This is the sixth annual festival. In Zimbabwe we are facilitating the festival in Harare and Bulawayo where we will showcase exciting European films and host several programs and competitions tailored to aspiring film makers.

VOA: What do African film makers gain from participating in the EU Film Festival?

Wagner: The biggest accomplishment by the festival that I would like to point out is the local programs. We have masterclasses which are facilitated by both European and African practitioners.

We also have the Bioskop film competition which has attracted great African films and I must add, are improving every year. Film makers that win this competition get a track record which can be used to apply to other reputable festivals.

Our festival is granting African film makers the chance to interact with reputable film makers and directors across the globe.

VOA: African stories are the current focus in Hollywood and Europe’s entertainment industry. This is fortunate for nations like Nigeria and South Africa where most of the stories have originated, however countries such as Zimbabwe are not benefitting from the western hunger for African stories. How can we change that narrative to ensure that the entire continent is equally heard?

Wagner: Accomplishing this will require a lot of networking by practitioners in countries such as Zimbabwe.

The Bioskop film competition helps because successful applicants are granted an opportunity to upload their movies on Film Freeway which is a website that facilitates global film festivals. A successful application to our program means eligibility to any film festival in the world but applicants must first ensure that their movies are of good quality.

This does not require the most expensive camera’s, instead prioritizes having a good story line which would attract a global audience.

VOA: How best can practitioners reach you if they want to participate in current and future programs?

Wagner: I would strongly suggest that they follow our Facebook and Instagram pages because that is where we publicly announce all information pertaining to our programs and competitions.