At the Écrans Noirs Festival (29 June – 6 July), Marc-Henri Wajnberg’s documentary film Kinshasa Kids, was awarded the Écran Noir for Best Foreign Film. Kinshasa Kids competed against 12 other feature-length contestants in the Foreign Film section but managed to convince the jury. The film is a co-production with Flanders and was first presented at this year’s European Film Market in Berlin.
Dedicated to African cinema, the Écrans Noirs Festival is annually held in Yaoundé, Cameroun. Its primary goal is to grant locals access to audiovisual productions, to create opportunities for locally produced films and to generally reward talent in the industry. Overall, the festival hosts no less than seven separate competition sections. While the main focus gears towards the central African countries, the festival reserves a competition section for foreign films that deal with an African topic, were shot mostly in Africa or incorporate a significant number of African cast members.
Kinshasa Kids gives its viewers an insight in the lives of Congolese children who are forced to live on the streets following accusations of witchcraft. Around 30,000 children are accused of wizardry and are kicked out of their homes. Living on the street, José and his friends - all treated like witch children - decide to form a music band to ward off bad luck with a crazy impresario called Bebson.
The documentary was written and directed by Marc-Henri Wajnberg and produced by Wanjbrosse Productions, in co-production with Peter Krüger for Flemish production company Inti Films (The Power of N, Drift)
Kinshasa Kids started its festival career at the Venice Days and went on to appear at 35 other festivals including Toronto, Busan and New York. The film can put several prizes to its name, amongst which the Human Rights Award at the Festival Odyssée in Strasbourg, the Audience Award at the Zagreb Film Festival and a Special Mention at the Festroia International Film Festival in Portugal.
Kinshasa Kids received support from the Flanders Audiovisual Fund/Film Fund of Flemish Cultural Affairs Minister Joke Schauvliege.