Experimental film “Mother, I am Suffocating. This Is My Last Film About You,” directed by Lemongah Jeremiah Mosese, who is from the tiny South African kingdom of Lesotho, has emerged as the standout title at this year’s Final Cut in Venice workshop which provides post-production support and partnership opportunities to films from Africa and the Arab world.
Set in the wastelands of an unnamed African country, “Mother” is described in promotional materials as a symbolic “socio-political voyage” within a society caught “between religion, identity, and collective memory” and also “a furious lamentation to a mother, a land, a hero, a victim, a martyr.”
The almost completed docufiction by Mosese (pictured, center) who is a Berlinale Talent Campus alumnus, won six prizes for a total of € 39,000 ($45,000), which will allow it to close financing of its € 75,000 budget.
The Biennale Prize awarded by a jury of producers/distributors comprising Raffaella Di Giulio of Italy’s Fandango, Carole Scotta of France’s Haut et Court and Jose Michel Butler of Switzerland’s Adok Film, went to Moroccan director Nadir Bouhmouch’s “Movement,” about resilient villagers engaged in a seven-year battle against Africa’s biggest silver mine which is siphoning off their water threatening their livelihoods.
Other Final Cut works that will receive different types of support, including free color correction, sound mix, distribution, DCP costs and cash are:
— Sudanese director Suhaib Gasmelbari’s “The Waiting Bench,” about a group of four idealistic Sudanese filmmakers who studying cinema in the ’60s and ’70s who get together and return to Sudan after a 15 year exile and roam the country in a van with some outdoor screening equipment determined to inspire a love for cinema.
—Egyptian director Hisham Saqr’s “Certified Mail” about an Egyptian wife and mother struggling with suicidal thoughts who must learn to face them on her own as her husband faces incarceration for a mistake at work.
During the awards ceremony Pascal Diot, who heads the Venice Production Bridge as the fest’s market is known, noted that the six projects which made the cut to compete for prizes were selected out of roughly 90 submissions, more than twice as many as last year. This means that “this workshop now means something now in Africa and the Middle East,” he said as it becomes an integral part of the existing circuit of similar platforms. Diot vowed that Venice “will continue to be there” to help the cinematographies of Africa and the Middle East.
Final Cut in Venice is organized by the Venice Production Bridge in collaboration with both the Amiens International Film Festival and the Fribourg International Film Festival.