Category: Multimedia

Skin bleaching and African women’s self-image

Ng’endo Mukii is an award-winning filmmaker whose work ranges from animations to documentaries. Born and raised in Kenya, she went on to study in the UK and the US.  Last year she graduated from the Royal College of Art in the UK, producing an acclaimed animation film Yellow Fever as part of her master’s thesis. In it she tackles the sensitive issue of skin bleaching and African women’s self-image using hand-drawn and computer animation, pixilation and live action.

Yellow Fever: TRAILER from Ng’endo Mukii on Vimeo.

The seven-minute film is based on observations from Mukii’s six-year-old niece, her personal experiences and history. The responses from her niece on the subject of skin colour and the privilege afforded to those with light or white complexions are very touching and insightful.

(Pic supplied)

Mukii explains the inspiration behind Yellow Fever: “I am interested in the concept of skin and race, in the ideas and theories sown into our flesh that change with the arc of time. I believe that skin and the body are often distorted into a topographical division between reality and illusion. The idea of beauty has become globalised, creating homogenous aspirations, and distorting people’s self-image across the planet. ​In my film I focus on African women’s self-image, through memories and interviews; using mixed media to describe this almost schizophrenic self-visualisation that I and many others have grown up with.”

Yellow Fever scooped the award for best animation at the Kenya International Film Festival in 2012 and the best short film award at this year’s Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Awards. It will be screened at the Zanzibar International Film Festival which starts on June 29.

Jonah: A story of legend, friendship and survival

JONAH from Factory Fifteen on Vimeo.

The Film4-backed short film Jonah, directed by Kibwe Tavares, is a stunning, ambitious hybrid of live action and animation that reveals the cost of human progress. It tells the story of Zanzibarian beach boy Mbwana, hungry for the future, who creates a myth that transforms his small town into a tourist hot spot. When the reality turns out to be far from his dreams, he sets out to destroy the town – or himself. The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January, and played at Sundance London in April. Tavares’s blog on the making of Jonah is also worth checking out.

Jeppe on a Friday

The dreams and fears, hopes and histories of five people intersect in this compelling documentary filmed in one day by eight female filmmakers in Johannesburg.

It features “garbage” man Vusi Zondo, ambitious property developer JJ Maia, folk musician and hostel dweller Robert Ndima, Beninese migrant and restaurateur Arouna Nassirou and his wife Zenaib, and shopkeeper Ravi Lalla.

The film was written and directed by Arya Lalloo and Shannon Walsh and shot by the  filmmakers on one Friday in March, 2012. It uses the template of the film À St-Henri, le 26 août, a documentary shot in and around a Montreal suburb on one day.

For more on Jeppe on a Friday, read Percy Zvomuya’s review.