Bristol and Me: Annie Menter

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This week we speak to Annie Menter, festival director of Afrika Eye

Afrika Eye is an annual Bristol festival, featuring films by directors, producers and actors from Africa and the diaspora. The film element is held over three days, with an arts programme wrapped around it to add context to the screenings and reach out further into the community. 

We’re opening with the award-winning Félicité, a fantastic film by Malian director Alain Gomis about a nightclub singer who’s a single parent with a son, struggling to make ends meet. Besides lots more feature films we have documentaries, two short-film programmes – the Best of Africa and Eyfeull, put together for us by a Nigerian student, Olamiposi Ayorinde – and wonderful animation, linking in nicely with an animation workshop for children run by a fantastic Aardman animator, Andrew Symanowski. The African Voices Forum also has an annual session with us, this year’s subject being ‘Guardians from ancient Africa’. 

We have three music nights, all happening for free in the Watershed bar, including an opening night party with the extraordinarily energetic and exciting Ballet Nimba, a pan-African group led by Guinean musician and fantastic dancer, Idrissa Camara. They’ll be doing a workshop the next day. Other children’s workshops include one with Bristol-based circus performer and street dancer, Moses Opiyo, and a mask workshop with Nigerian artist, Oluwa. People are often unaware of the variety of food culture in Africa, so we’ve hooked up with Refugee Women of Bristol to stage cookery workshops. Two wonderful women, Negat Hussein and Negla Abdul Hadi, will be sharing their secrets of cooking in Eritrea and Sudan.  We’ve strong links with the universities, with Bristol students volunteering for us. An incredibly diverse community makes this a great city to host this kind of event. It’s not just about raising the profile of the continent but its specific and distinctive countries, its wealth of culture and history, its role in the modern world,
and countering the negative stereotypes.

Afrika Eye festival runs until November 12. 

Ffi: www.afrikaeye.org.uk

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