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Teenage stamina knows no borders

Adolescents from Kenya and Israel get behind the camera and exude creativity in three short films exhibited today in the Cannes Film Festival - in initiative by UK charity Films without Borders

How many films made by teenagers have you seen? Most filmmakers we know – even the most famous and renowned ones – only get behind the camera when they get into university. Films about children and adolescents are not entirely authentic because the person behind the camera is almost invariably a grown-up trying to see the world through the eyes of the younger. The adolescent gaze is conspicuous in its absence in most of the film industry.

The UK charity Films Without Borders (FWB) is attempting to change this. Together with teenage directors and professionals (such as film editors, sound engineers and clappers) from many countries, the organisation has produced three diverse short films: Being Maasai (from Kenya, pictured below), Tales From the Slums (Kenya, pictured above), and Coming Home (Israel, pictured at the bottom).

The films were screened in the BFI Tent at the UK Film Centre in Cannes this afternoon (May 12th), and the FWB Patron Nadja Swarovski (FWB Patron) is present at the event. Just click here for more information about the organisation.

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Tales from the Slums (Nairobi, Kenya)

Films Without Borders presents a Swarovski film in association with the Sandy Vohra Foundation and supported by Twickenham Studios and Swiss International Air Lines

A deeply impressive film made by and through the eyes of kids from two of the most notorious slums in Nairobi, Kibera and Mathare. They take us on a harrowing journey of daily life in the slums. “I have seen the dark side of life and am now striving to turn my life around and have a better future” says 19 year old Francesca. Featuring a guest appearance from one of Africa’s most esteemed rapper’s Octopizzo, who grew up in the slums and is one of the success stories young people all aspire to. The film won the Slum Voice Award at the 2015 Slum Film Festival in Nairobi. Furthermore, the United Nations selected Tales from the Slums for World Habitat Day, and has screened the film all over Kenya and other parts of Africa, and is now screening the film worldwide.

Being Maasai (Amboseli, Kenya)

Films Without Borders presents a Swarovski film in association with the Sandy Vohra Foundation and supported by Twickenham Studios and Swiss International Air Lines

Being Maasai is a hard hitting film made by and through the eyes of girls who are torn between the love for their Maasai tribe, and their determination to put an end to their outdated traditions. The film gives us a touching insight into their vulnerable lives. We explore the traditions of the tribe, looking at them in depth to discover what has forced these young girls to flee their homes. For the first time ever, the girls have agreed to share their heart-rending tales of running away from female genital mutilation, early arranged marriages, and rape.

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Coming Home (Israel)

Films Without Borders presents a film supported by Hilton Nathanson for the ‘International Award for Young People – Israel’.

An African American Gentile tribe, mainly from Chicago, has set up its own village in the middle of the desert in Israel. They are highly respected for their creative talents, such as music, dance, art, and fashion design. They are vegan, make their own clothes, and men are allowed up to four wives at a time. This is a fascinating look at a highly unusual tribe and their unconventional, yet charming way of life.

If you are interested in cinema made by young people, read our article ‘Cinema as Transformational Weapon Against War’ about Life on the Border. The film was made by eight children from Kobani and Shengal in refugee camps on the border of Syria and Iraq. They recorded their own life experiences and stories in the wake of brutal attacks by Isis. Just click here in order to accede to our review.


By Dirty Movies team - 12-05-2016

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