Kenya targets multilateral cooperation with Russia’s film industry

As part of screenings of African cinema in St. Petersburg, Russia, organized by ROSKINO, a Russian film promotion body, with the support of the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation, representatives of the African film industry expressed their intention to expand interaction with both Russian viewers and the Russian film industry. 

In St. Petersburg, Russia, from July 28 to 30, as part of the cultural and educational festival “Africa. Together into the future” and the project “International Film Days”, ROSKINO organized a number of events to help Russian audiences get to know the work of African directors and to foster cooperation between the African film industry and Russian filmmakers.

(TOP: Robin Odongo, – second from left – the director of the film Bangarang from Kenya, at the “Africa. Together into the future” in Russia). 

At the Aurora cinema, five films – which won awards at international film festivals – were screened. They include:

  • 1960 (a South African drama)
  • Bangarang (Kenya)
  • Air conditioner (Angola)
  • Kijiji Changu
  • Mwiga (Tanzania)

The films were shown to full halls. The opening ceremony was attended by South Africa’s ambassador to Russia Mzuvukile Jeff Maqetuka; the director of the film Bangarang, Robin Odongo; the acting CEO of ROSKINO, Ekaterina Naumova; and others.

Director Robin Odongo noted that such cultural events contribute to a greater mutual understanding of the cultures of Russia and African countries, and it is important to continue this tradition. Showing African cinema in Russia and Russian films in Africa will also develop the culture of visiting cinemas in Africa.

As part of the educational program of the festival “Africa. Together into the future”, the ROSKINO Academy seminar “Possibilities of Cooperation and Co-production between the Russian Film Industry and African Film Distribution” was held, with the participation of director Robin Odongo from Kenya, the Head of the Senegal department of cinematography, Germain Coly, and Maya Nikolskaya, the curator of the first Russian site for African research “Embracing Africa”.

Director Robin Odongo said that the Kenya Film Commission currently provides a lot to support and develops national cinema, adding that various measures are being taken to attract foreign capital to the film industry for co-production projects, and noted that the cooperation with Russia is a promising direction. He also said that 80% of the Kenyan film industry specialists do not have specialized film industry education, and therefore educational projects with Russia could also be popular.

The Head of the Senegal department of cinematography, Germain Coly, noted that in addition to co-production and education, there is the potential to cooperate with Russia for the restoration of films and movie archives.

As part of the festival “Africa. Together into the future”, free film screenings were also held at the Lenfilm cinema center and the Moscow Cinema “Illusion”.  There was an extensive film program – from the hits of the Cannes Film Festival to cult unique studios with a budget of $200, from vivid documentaries about the local film industry to Soviet archives. In addition, a photo exhibition “African Dream”, an educational program, and other events were organized. In total, the festival “Africa. Together into the future”, had more than 6,000 visitors.

“Africa. Together into the future” is a cultural and educational festival which was held from July 25 to 30, 2023, with the support of the  Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation, the Senegal Ministry of Culture, the Senegal Embassy in Russia, and the Roscongress Foundation. Festival partners included Lenfilm studio, ROSKINO, Roskontzer, the State Film Fund, and United Metallurgical Company. The event was part of the Petersburg Seasons Culture Festival as part of the second Russia-Africa summit. 

International Film Days is a ROSKINO project supported by the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation, which introduces Russian audiences to modern cinema from Asia, the Middle East and North Africa, as well as CIS countries. During 2023, foreign film screenings are being held across Russia.


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