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Making an impact: doccie project goes inside lives of migrants


Making an impact: doccie project goes inside lives of migrants

Cape Town NGO STEPS uses film for social change and to develop African talent. This is its latest offering

Liani Maasdorp and Julia Cain

For far too long the West has told stories about and on behalf of Africa. However, a new slate of 25 documentary films by African filmmakers called Generation Africa (https://www.generationafrica.co.za/) is now making waves at international film festivals and is set to shift perspectives about migration in and from the continent.

It’s the latest initiative by Cape Town-based STEPS (https://steps.co.za/). For 20 years the NGO has been an innovator in using film as a tool for social change and in developing talent from the continent. It produces ambitious theme-based collections of films that engage with pressing issues, in this case migration. The 25 new documentaries present diverse and nuanced insider perspectives of people moving between African countries and from Africa.

Filmmakers from around the continent were invited to submit proposals for films specifically to address the missing perspective of Africans on this contentious global issue. Several have been completed, among them ones that have been gathering media attention (https://www.dw.com/en/generation-africa-the-young-face-of-african-cinema/a-60723861) for high-profile film festival selections and awards. The Last Shelter (Mali) had its world premiere at CPH:DOX (https://cphdox.dk/) in Denmark in 2021, where it also won the Dox:Award, the top prize at this festival. No U-Turn (Nigeria) received a special mention (https://www.google.com/url?q=https://www.news24.com/channel/movies/news/generation-africa-film-no-u-turn-recognised-at-berlinale-20220222&sa=D&source=docs&ust=1653387231615205&usg=AOvVaw3SW0uRikbmtwkjS0MODJpp) from the jury at the Berlin International Film Festival in February. No Simple Way Home (South Sudan) recently won the DOK.horizonte prize (https://www.google.com/url?q=https://www.dokfest-muenchen.de/Awards?lang%3Den&sa=D&source=docs&ust=1653387231639829&usg=AOvVaw1_ujDh21-ZXLQ_c516xD4j) at DOK.fest Munchen...

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