Siya and Rachel Kolisi’s film to open Africa Rising International Film Festival

Johannesburg- Global Rugby sensation, Siya Kolisi, and his wife Rachel’s film will open Africa Rising International Film Festival.

The short film is titled We Are Dying Here, based on a stage production, and executively produced by Rachel and Siya Kolisi,

Festival director Ayanda Sithebe said the film is a poetic indictment of the prevalence of gender-based violence in South Africa.

This is the fourth edition of the Africa Rising International Film Festival (ARIFF) and it is themed Africa In Me #MyStory.

The festival starts tomorrow until 28 November 28 2021 online and on-site in venues across Johannesburg.

Some of the films selected make bold statements.

“We seek to package African films for export to the global stage while being at the centre of driving change and being a motivating anchor that unearths authentic African stories,” said festival chair Lala Tuku.

“The films selected for this year’s edition celebrate our collective Africanness but in so doing are not tone-deaf to issues faced by everyday people on the continent,” she added.

Tuku said their mandate was to raise social issues. “That’s why we are opening the festival with a film like We Are Dying Here,” said Sithebe.

Tuku said the festival will also culminate with the screening of an LGBTQI+ centered film calledI Am Samuel. Filmed over five years in Kenya, I Am Samuel is an intimate portrait of a Kenyan man balancing pressures of family loyalty, love, and safety and questioning the concept of conflicting identities.

The film was banned by the Film Classification Board in Kenya. “A hundred years from now, ARIFF wants to make sure that we’ll be able to look back at a glorious archive of impactful African stories told by storytellers with an authentically African point of view,” said Tuku.

Sihle Hlophe said they have films from more than 30 African countries (including Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Egypt, Kenya) as well as films from the African diaspora.

A new addition to ARIFF’s line-up this year is the Pan-African Cinema Legends Series aimed at honoring creatives who have contributed to the African film industry.

The inaugural honoree is BAFTA-award-winning filmmaker and actress Ms. Xoliswa Sithole.

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