MTN Bushfire presents Short Film Festival 2020

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As one of Africa’s largest and most inclusive music and arts events, MTN Bushfire has earned its global reputation as a distinctly African, yet globally-infused world-class festival experience.

This distinctly African, yet globally-infused festival consciously celebrates inclusivity and magnifies diversity through creative activism and artistic expression in the scenic and peaceful Malkerns Valley of Eswatini from Friday, 29 May – Sunday, 31 May 2020.

The MTN Bushfire Short Film Celebration will take place at The Barn on the mornings of 30 and 31 May 2020 and applications for film submissions are now open via Film Freeway

The screenings will be of short films that focus on African music, musicians or similar topics  while the Sunday screenings will focus on short films that reflect the values of MTN Bushfire’s social mandate; diversity, inclusion and tolerance. These films will highlight uplifting and impactful stories from across Africa in the areas of gender rights (LGBTQ), environmentalism and sustainability, social development and justice.

These engaging African films will be the ideal accompaniment to the diverse and exciting live performances that take place across the various MTN Bushfire stages throughout the 3 day festival.

The MTN Bushfire Short Film Celebration is being curated by Lara Utian-Preston and Edima Otuokon, both of whom have extensive film festival and industry experience. Lara and Edima were both involved over many years with the Zanzibar International Film Festival. Additionally, through their work with the Ladima Foundation, a pan-African not for profit organisation that supports women in film, they work closely with a host of film festivals, filmmakers, and film related events across Africa.

Lara Utian-Preston describes the aims of the mini-festival, “We are so excited to bring the film medium into the MTN Bushfire space in 2020. The film festival categories focused on music and social justice have been designed to complement the vision and mission of MTN Bushfire. While this year the festival will take place over just two morning sessions, we hope to grow it in scope and impact in order to promote African filmmakers, social justice advocates and musicians alike.”

MTN Bushfire festival director Jiggs Thorne explains the rationale for adding in the new and exciting component to the festival: “At MTN Bushfire we are always looking for new ways to activate our themes and social mandate as expressed through Bring Your Fire. In the last few years we have added a visual arts zone and included live theatre and dance within the festival. It makes absolute sense for us to also start supporting and promoting the burgeoning African film industry. We are excited to host our first film festival and expect the event to grow over time.”

Please note the following submission criteria:

  • Films must have been made after 2016
  • Only short films under 30 minutes will be accepted 
  • At least 50% of the core film team (director, producer) must be from Africa 
  • Films must focus on category themes 
  • Films should have a message that upholds the values of MTN Bushfire: inclusion, diversity and tolerance.

Film submissions are now open until 31 March 2020.

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Lara Utian-Preston
Lara Utian-Preston is a passionately committed marketer and strategist with a focus on promoting African content and events. Two decades of working across Africa have provided her with insights and experience that she puts to work for the projects she manages. In 2006, Lara founded, and still personally manages, Red Flag Content Relations, a full service below-the-line agency that also focuses on African entertainment and lifestyle brand marketing, strategy, and publicity.