The Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF) has been awarded a $150 000 (R1.3-million) three-year grant by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for its African Pictures programme, which will be presented during its annual festival.


The grant will give the US-based event an unprecedented opportunity as a major international film festival to showcase a substantive programme of indigenous films from Africa.

“Thanks to the academy’s significant support of our African Pictures programme, SIFF will be able to dig deep across the African continent and greatly expand on our previous efforts in the region that we have been working on for several years,” says SIFF artistic director Carl Spence:

Past African films that have received their North American Premiere at the Seattle International Film Festival include Tey (Senegal, 2012), Otelo Burning (South Africa, 2011), Spud (South Africa, 2010) and Iman (Uganda, 2009).

Starting at SIFF 2013, which runs from 16 May to 9 June, a minimum of 10 African feature films will be presented at the festival annually, over the course of the three-year programme.

SIFF programmer Dustin Kaspar is currently travelling in Africa. He attended the Durban International Film Festival in July this year and is scheduled to attend the Cairo International Film Festival in December and Fespaco in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, in February 2013. His presence in Africa and at these film festivals will afford an opportunity to build industry relationships and deepen SIFF’s programming, while also facilitating a greater awareness of the treasures of contemporary African cinema to a broader audience in the US.

Visiting African filmmakers will be invited to attend and engage with other filmmaking delegates from around the world and interact with audiences following their film screenings. SIFF will also provide complimentary tickets to educators and their students to participate and attend screenings at the Festival in addition to taking filmmakers into classrooms around the region as part of SIFF’s FutureWave education outreach programme for K-12 and university students.

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