During the closing Award Night ceremony at the 36th Durban International Film Festival on Saturday night, Arterial Network’s Artwatch Africa Award was presented to Beats of the Antonov, directed by Hajooj Kuka. The Award honours an African film that meaningfully engages with issues of Freedom of Expression and is accompanied by a R15,000 cash prize.
The Artwatch Africa Jury issued the following statement:
War has brutally divided the peoples of Sudan. This compelling film shows how the power of music, dancing and culture sustains the displaced people living in the remote war-ravaged areas of Southern Sudan. In the face of bombs dropping from the Antonov aeroplanes above, their songs of liberation and militancy are a means of identity affirmation and mobilization. “I want to dance, play, and have a normal life” they say, as they exert their claim to freedom and freedom of expression even under the harsh circumstances of war.
Arterial Network’s Artwatch Africa project promotes and defends artist rights and freedom of creative expression and this award celebrates the transformative and conscientising power of cinema. The Jury acknowleged film director Hajooj Kuka’s remarkable two year commitment in providing witness to the spirited resilience of local communities and ethnic cultures whose rights have been denied within the country of their birth.
The Jury comprised Junaid Ahmed – Award winning filmmaker, René Alicia Smith – Executive Dean of Faculty of Arts and Design at Durban University of Technology, Gcina Mhlophe – Award winning author, poet, playwright, director, performer and storyteller, and Peter Rorvik – Secretary-General of Arterial Network.
Artwatch Africa is supported by Swedish Foundation for Human Rights, Swedish Postcode Lottery, Swedish Institute, HIVOS, Mimeta, Goethe Institute and Doen Foundation.