8th Classics In The Park: An Afromation Experience

April 17, 20176 min read

Classics In The Park is an informal approach to the cinema that most people don’t get to experience. Forget the air-conditioned and sound-proof theatre halls. Instead, embrace a more relaxed, picnic-like setting, ripe with funky African sounds and most importantly, classic African films. 

This a sweet escape into the realm of classic films that still resonate pure artistry and fluid storytelling by African cinema legends such as Kwaw Ansah, Ousmane Sembene and more. This laudable initiative is spearheaded by the good people at Africa Film Society.

The Africa Film Society seeks to preserve and promote Africa’s rich cinematic legacy while cultivating new filmmakers and nurturing an audience for their work.  It is in line with this that the 8th edition perfectly aligns with one of our interests, afromation.

The latest edition will feature two wonderful animated flicks. The films are the 1998 classic Kirikou and the Sorceress and Francis Yushau Brown’s 2015 award winner, Agorkoli: Cause of Hogbetsotso. The films will be shown on April 29th, at the Akola Boni Park in Osu, just a few metres from Tea Baa.

The first film, Kirikou and the Sorceress, is a traditional animated feature written and directed by Michel Ocelot. It tells the story of Kirikou, a newborn babe, who saves his village from the tyranny of the evil witch, Karaba. The plot is deeply rooted in West African folktales and thrills with nostalgic references.

The film was however denied release in the US due to female nudity until 2002. It has since chalked success in its sequels, Kirikou et les Bêtes Sauvages, released in 2005 and a third in 2012, Kirikou et les Homes et les Femmes.

8th Classics in the Park poster.

Agorkoli: Cause of Hogbetsotso, is an animated historical retelling of the epic migration story of the Ewe people, but from a different, less spoken about angle that challenges common knowledge.  In this feature, we get to experience the story through the tyrannical king, Agorkoli’s perspective. Agorkoli has won and grabbed several nominations in both domestic and international award circuits, such as the Golden Movie Awards, FESPACO Film Festival, AFRIFF and the upcoming GUBA Awards.

We at Squid Mag are super excited about the film choices because it shows more attention is being paid to African animated films. It’s interesting that the just-ended Comics and Smoothies gathering opened the floodgates for conversations and ideas on how to move the digital arts industry forward. The event was organized in partnership with Vortex Inc. and had Francis as an integral part of that conversation.

One of the things everyone respected and applauded was the undying love and dedication of Ghanaian animators to continue creating. All of this in spite of a lack of resources – human and financial – in a tough industry where one person is usually responsible for everything from background creation, character development, animation, writing and directing.

Memories from the 2nd edition are still fresh in my mind. I zapped through Accra’s concrete jungle after I got wind of the event from a friend. Sandwiched somewhere between Osu and Labone, I found this cool laterite park with a hipsterish (sic) ambience with like-minded folk gathered to watch the fascinating Kenyan sci-fi thriller, Pumzi (Wanuri Kahiu, 2010).

That was the closest to anything made from the digital art industry, but it made my day. Additionally, having the impressive, funky professor, Kobby Graham on the turntables, some kelewele (Ghanaian delicacy of spicy fried plantains) and popcorn were the icing on the cake. It was a satisfying evening.

Not to drop a bombshell but this will be the last screening of the season until September. All roads will lead to the Akola Boni Park in Osu on the 29th of April for beautiful films in the park, under a moonlit sky. Make this a family affair or a night out with friends as we come together to celebrate some the best African animation. Watch a video recap from the last edition here.

Read more about the Africa Film Society here and also check out this edition’s Facebook event page to stay updated. You can also interact with Africa Film Society through their engaging social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.

You can find directions to Akola Boni park here or below.

Africa Film Society: Tell de the story oooh! 

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