The 20th edition of the African Film Festival (FCAT) reinvindicates the Strait of Gibraltar and the Spanish-Moroccan culture as a bond of union

The festival, which runs from 28 April to 7 May, will open in Tangier’s historic Alcazar cinema and will close in Tarifa.

The Tarifa-Tangier African Film Festival (FCAT) will be 20 years old in its 2023 edition – held on both shores between 28 April and 7 May – making known the cinematographies of the African continent and becoming a reference for African cinemas both in the Spanish-speaking world and in Europe. This year, the FCAT is fully resuming its activity on both sides of the Strait of Gibraltar, with the aim of continuing to forge diversity and cultural dialogue between the two continents, as well as the historic relationship between the north of Morocco and the south of the Iberian Peninsula.

This consolidated cultural event, which is held simultaneously on both sides of the Strait of Gibraltar, continues to define itself as cross-border and Spanish-Moroccan. Its 20th edition will be inaugurated in Tangiers on 28 April thanks to a collaboration agreement with the Cervantes Institute in the Moroccan city. It will be held in one of the historic cinemas of the Spanish Protectorate era, the recently restored Alcazar cinema, built in 1913 and an icon of Spanish-language film screenings in Tangiers. During this edition of the FCAT, the Alcazar will once again host the films of the Miradas Españolas and La tercera raíz sections, the latter looking at cinema from the Latin American continent, as well as films subtitled in Spanish.

For the closing ceremony and awards ceremony just a week later, the festival will organise its second gala on the Spanish side, at the Teatro Alameda in Tarifa. Between these two events, a multitude of screenings and an extensive programme of activities will take place on both sides of the Strait of Gibraltar.

Likewise, both the Alcazar Cinema in Tangiers and the Alameda Theatre in Tarifa will host a special session during the 20th edition of the FCAT with the world premiere of the documentary Children of Al-Andalus, by Marmoucha & Bridge2Connect, a Dutch production based on the book of the same name. A story that focuses on the descendants of the Moors expelled from Spain in 1612 and how, centuries later, they continue to preserve their roots and traditions. Both the Andalusian Muslims and the Sephardic Jews built a new existence in North Africa, bringing new influences to Morocco and enriching existing traditions.

Both screenings will also include the short film La rotonda, by Carmen Tortosa, about the difficult life of immigrants living in the settlements of Níjar in Almería.

Poster for the 20th edition

Geometric abstraction and fields of colour replace this year’s signature photography that has dominated recent FCAT posters. Sky blue and navy blue, red and off-white colour this year’s FCAT with a rough poster full of textures generated by artificial intelligence, unveiled during the presentation of the 20th FCAT in Seville.

The work of the artist from Tarifa José Vicente Araújo, one of the “founding fathers” of the festival, it adheres to generative art and forms part of a long series entitled Imaginary Archaeology, in which the author tries to reimagine the History of Art with the help of artificial intelligence, with a critical and ironic approach.

The chosen piece refers to the work of a fictitious contemporary artist who makes her work with recovered materials on which she traces geometric motifs in flat colours. Both features, one or the other, are present in the work of African artists such as El Anatsui (Ghana), Dapkogan and Hazoumé (Benin), the South African Esther Mahlangu or popular traditions such as the geometric decoration of the Gurunsi culture.

Cinema classroom

Deciphering the Real. The non-conformism of African cinemas, is the title of the Cinema Classroom that will be given once again this year by professor and programmer Javier H. Estrada in four sessions in Spanish and online between 29 April and 2 May. The registration period is open until 18 April, and this year’s Aula de cine will focus on heterodox approaches to complex realities, tackling subjects such as the consequences of apparently failed revolutions, collective creation, or the African roots of films made on European soil in the light of the impact reaped in recent months by Saint Omer by the Franco-Senegalese Alice Diop (César for Best First Film and Giraldillo de Oro at the Seville Festival).

The course will also deal with the works of classics such as Ousmane Sembène, Med Hondo, or Sarah Maldoror, and also lesser-known talents who are building essential filmographies, such as Dieudo Hamadi, Randa Maroufi, or the Geração 80 collective.

20 years of FCAT

The African Film Festival was born to be a showcase and a meeting place for African film productions and those of their diasporas in Spain, Europe and Latin America. At the same time, attentive to the evolution of Spanish-speaking audiences, in recent editions FCAT has broadened the spectrum of its proposal, prioritising the dissemination of Andalusian, Spanish and European cinema about Africa or shot in Africa, European-African co-productions and South to South co-productions between Ibero-America and Africa, understanding cinema as a tool for knowledge, development and cultural diplomacy.

Likewise, the FCAT has been disseminating cultural contents that unite the two neighbouring countries for 20 years, supporting common values and building a discourse based on what we share and not on what separates us. And this, together with the pedagogical branch of FCAT, which in recent editions has managed to involve an increasing number of Andalusian, Spanish and Moroccan students;

The African Film Festival is not only limited to disseminating African films and promoting their production, but among the many activities organised each year, it is worth mentioning the international meeting forum The Tree of Words or the post-production workshop dedicated to professionals from both sides FCAT LAB.

In its two decades, the festival has welcomed the most important voices of African cinematographies and their diasporas, leading directors whose works have been selected and often awarded prizes at festivals such as Cannes, Venice or Berlin, or at the most important festivals in Africa such as Fespaco and Carthage. Among others, Abderrahmane Sissako (La vie sur Terre, Bamako, Timbuktu), Oliver Hermanus (The Endless River, Moffie, Living), Alice Diop (Vers la tendresse, Nous, Saint Omer), Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese (Mother, I am Suffocating. This is My Last Film About You, This Is Not a Burial, It’s a Ressurrection) or Wanuri Kahiu (Rafiki).

At the same time, FCAT has witnessed the presence of important figures from the Spanish film industry. Among others, the presence of actresses Emma Suárez and Rossy de Palma, directors Oliver Laxe and Isaki Lacuesta and producers Elías Querejeta and Olmo Figueredo.

Finally, representatives of institutions such as the United Nations, the Berlinale and the Mostra Internazionale del Cinema di Venezia and emblematic African institutions such as Fespaco, the Durban Festival and the CCM participated in different professional and parallel activities over almost two decades.

One Response

  1. When will ticket sales start for screenings in Tangiers? Can you already provide contact details for a responsible person at the Cervantes Institute and/or the Alcazar cinema? Thanks.

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