The magic of African cinema comes to Scotland

AiW Guest Justine Atkinson on the upcoming ‘Africa in Motion‘ Film Festival:

Fallous is a young Tunisian boy who is always running. We follow him as he journeys through his village, down winding paths bordered with lush green forests, greeting each neighbour as he passes, until he climbs up a large mountain to the tallest point where he looks down over his small village with a sense of awe and freedom.


As the end of Eid is approaching his family decide to buy new clothes in celebration. Whilst his father is choosing shoes for him from a second hand stall in the market, Fallous hears the chimes of something spectacular, and in his searches he catches a glimpse of a pair of curly-toed, golden shoes, with small bells on the toes. As they disappear from his sight, he feels a sense of urgency and leaving the safety of his father’s side he pushes through the crowd following the chimes. As the crowds disperse he sees a blue shop window with intricately painted unicorns on either side. It calls to him.  As he walks closer a wonderful pair of black, shiny shoes, with wings on are unveiled – ‘’perfect for running!’’ he thinks.

From this moment on it is as if nothing else matters, he prays for the shoes, dreams about the shoes, he can’t eat or sleep. The film then captures this emotion by transporting the audience into his dream through the magic of animation. Within this Fallous momentarily has the shoes, he can run alongside horses and can even fly, but they are quickly snatched away from him as falls back into reality.

These scenes are taken from the Tunsian film My Shoes, and offer a glimpse into often unexplored realities. It allows audiences the opportunity to experience African culture through the eyes of African people, exploring its similarities and differences. It captures movement in both literal and metaphorical forms and is due to be shown at this year’s Africa in Motion Film Festival, set to take place in Scotland between the 24th of October and 3rd of November.


This film encapsulates our 2013 festival theme, ‘Twende: Africa on the Move’ (“twende” is a Swahili word which translates as “let’s go!”), capturing Africa’s diverse richness and beauty through movement. My Shoes will be one of more than 40 films screened at Africa in Motion this year, adding to the diverse array of images brought to Scotland from across the African continent.

This festival will show the interconnected nature of film movements, and how one of the greatest popular art forms can provide a window into a plethora of cultures.  Through an expertly curated programme of contemporary African films, art exhibitions, panel discussions, children’s and schools workshops and engaging Q&As it will explore a broad definition of movement. Key strands will include the movement of people across regions and borders with films about immigration and asylum, to political, religious and social movements, to movement in its more literal form with films about sport, dance and the vibrancy of African cities and street life.

This year’s festival will be packed with special events, including a distribution forum discussing opening new markets for African film in the UK, a documentary screening day, masterclasses with a number of African filmmakers and industry professionals and engaging Q&As following screenings. As always we will hold our annual Short Film Competition, which is now going into its 7th year. This competition aims to nurture and support young and new filmmakers from all over the continent, providing a prize for the winning film to be invested in future projects made by the filmmaker.  A high profile jury of local and international film specialists and established African filmmakers select the competition winner.header-logo

This year we have developed many new and innovative initiatives using the festival as a platform in order to develop wider audiences and distribution for African cinema.  These include the AiM Nomad Cinema Series that will voyage across communities carrying new stories and ideas across Scotland. Using a pop-up cinema screen we will take films outside of the traditional screening venues to screen films in bars, community centres, schools, parks, a zoo…

To ensure that the festival is able to travel to the widest possible audience we have also partnered with a leading VOD platform to create an online version of the festival. We will choose a selection of films from AiM 2013 including shorts, features and documentaries that will become available on, so that people from all over the world can engage with the festival.

These are just a few events and activities that are set to take place during this year’s festival. We don’t want to give away too many details yet, so you can look forward to the programme formally launching on our website at the end of September (

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Justine Atkinson is currently working for the Africa in Motion film festival as part of the festival management team. She is also the founder and Director of Aya Distribution an international sales, distribution and film production company.

Justine began her career in film distribution after graduating from the University of York with a BA (Hons) in Politics. Following this she worked for the child rights organization, Stepping Stones Nigeria, on the distribution of the Nollywood film, The Fake Prophet, which was produced as an advocacy tool. Inspired by this experience Justine decided to work with a number of key contacts and set up her own company – Aya Distribution in 2011.

She believes that film has the power to inspire imagination, stimulate debate and even change how people see the world, and therefore strives to open new markets for African cinema.

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