Asia Africa Film Festival (AAFF) at Queen's Head, Jakarta, on April 24-28. (JG Photo/Nur Yasmin)

First Asia Africa Film Festival Highlights Commonalities in Diversity


APRIL 28, 2019

Jakarta. The first ever Asia Africa Film Festival was held at Queen's Head in Kemang, South Jakarta, on April 24-28.

The festival is planned to be an annual event and this year all the screenings were held in Silver Screen, Queen’s Head's surprisingly spacious minicinema. 

Kennedy Ashinze, founder of festival organizer Globetrotter Lab, said he wants the festival to spark conversations between the two continents and celebrate filmmakers and actors who have created works that give true portrayals of social conditions in Asia and Africa.

"We want to break down definitions and narrow boundaries that have been stereotyped on both continents, and to fight economic, class and racial boundaries," Ashinze said during a media gathering on Tuesday.

"Basically we felt there was a void in Jakarta and more conversations need to be had, face-to-face ones. We want to tell different stories from different parts of the world to highlight diversity and commonalities among us," he said.

The first edition of AAFF focused on themes of social changes that people can relate to. The films were selected to get people to reconsider their moral compasses.

The festival also opened up its platform to independent filmmakers from both continents, especially those whose works investigate changes in their societies.

"We don’t want mainstream filmmakers; we focus on the ones who've never gotten their big break. What excites us are stories that reflect the sociey they're portraying, progressive stories about discrimination, love, feminism," Ashinze, who was also the festival's curator, said.

Ashinze said next year's AAFF will involve more directors from both continents.

"We will host workshops and seminars where filmmakers can share their stories," he said.

In three days, the festival showed feature, short and documentary films from 11 countries in Asia and Africa: Tanzania, Nigeria, Ghana, Egypt, Mali, Indonesia, India, Palestine, Philippines, Japan and China.

Indian director Reema Sangupta, whose film "Counterfeit Kunkoo" was screened at Sundance and who was invited to the festival, said she enjoyed the unique atmosphere of AAFF.

The festival's closing movie was the new interfaith love story Ave Maryam by Indonesian writer and director Ernanto Robby. Tickets were sold out for the screening. 

"It’s nice to be part of the first Asia Africa Film Festival, it's been fun," Ernanto said..