Super 16 [Take 3] – African Short Films you should see



Super 16 keeps looking for filmmakers finding new and creative ways of telling their nuanced, authentic stories centered on people of colour. This edition is particularly polarized towards experimentation both in the areas of film and music. Our selection features shorts from the continent and the diaspora, worthy of your time. You can also check out the past editions here and here. Enjoy!


5 Mins

(2017, U.K)

Dir: Seye Isikalu

The black men or the black body is severely restricted especially with regards to displaying affection. The display of any kind of warmth or care must exist in some pre-constructed notion or impassionate manifestation that reinforces overt masculinity . Seye Isikalu in his experimental film, Monochrome, interrogates these boundaries among black men by juxtaposing images of them in various position where they are vulnerable like in a barber’s chair or with their children. The film creatively employs mundane scenes ,low lighting and poetry to weave together alternative ideas of how black men can display their affection towards each other.


Fantastic Man

30 mins

(2014, US)

Dir: Jake Sumner, Alldayeveryday

When you see a man with 8 microphones and many other synths around him on his album cover, then you must know, immediately that he is up to something special or utterly ridiculous. William Onyeabor, from his home in Enugu, Nigeria pioneered a way of using modular synths in popular music in a manner that still shocks the world. He was completely independent, in a time with no Bandcamp, SoundCloud or Twitter, yet found a way to use very expensive and experiment instruments like the legendary Moog synthesizer to create the most sparkling african music yet. He self-produced, recorded, and pressed all his enigmatic 9 synth pop albums under his expansive company. However, despite his genius, Onyeabor decided to be mysterious. This film tries to put together some reasonable explanation of his life and tell us all who William Onyeabor is? Unfortunately, Onyeabor died in January this year at the age of 70. This documentary might be the only clear picture of how one man was able to change synth pop forever. Questions as to where he got his finding from, or the ideas to be so radical in his sound will forever remain a mystery, just has the chief intended it to be.



8 mins

(2017, U.K)

Dir: Trim Lamba

The rise of technology has pushed the boundaries of filmmaking significantly further, by gifting creative minds with versatile tools to tell nuanced stories. Snapchat, Instagram and other videos and photo sharing apps have rearranged our perceptions of how images can look and feel with many filmmakers already taking advantage of them. Well, Cracked Screen by Trim Lamba is a significant leap in this domain of filmmaking that does not care about  proper lights or aspect ratios. He examines the themes of identity and self love through a young black woman’s snapchat story with frightening accuracy. What makes this film unique and relatable is the perfect juxtaposition of the two personality of the character (played by Chantelle Levene), before and after her unfortunate abuse. The emotions seep from the cracked screen and viewers are reminded of the brutality of this same technology that allows us to connect with the world.


Waves/The Water

5 mins

(2017, Ghana)

Dir: David Edem and Sutra

Mesmerizing. Just mesmerizing. Filmmaker David Edem and singer Sutra in their two-part music video translate a sense of fluidity in carefully choreographed movements, lulling vocal and a calm ambience. This multifaceted film communicates a keen sense of displacement and loss in the first part “Waves”. Sutra’s spellbinding vocal lull the viewer into the rhythm of her words, accompanied by the patient movements of the dancers, clad in black and red. The film also uses natural light superbly to achieve a gloomy mood that blends with the aesthetic. The second part of the film, similarly fluid, plays with the concepts of healing, mimicking water. Waves/Water is beyond the concept of a music video because of the many different themes that are condensed in this tight visual narrative.


StelooLive: An experimental, electronic soundscape in Accra

3 mins

(2017, Ghana)

Dir: Fotombo

Steloo is an enigma . Anyone who has seen the Ghanaian DJ, Sound artist or fashion icon in any of his artistic endeavors will attest to that. His evolution continues in this new sound art installation, with the help of Design Indaba and Nana Anoff. Being an organic product of his environment, Steloo reacts to the sights and sounds and reinvents them in his live sets. His dexterity extends beyond the mere manipulation of distorted sounds to an ethereal connect with these mundane yet striking notes his plays live. This video appears to be just a glimpse into a sound art project Steloo is pioneering and we are very excited to see and hear it! Listen to the full set on Soundcloud.



Clean Water

6 mins

(2016, Uk)

Dir: Kamau Wainaina

Clean Water is my wildcard pick for this edition of Super 16. Kamau Wainaina examines identity and displacement through the images of a young boy black growing up in the UK and the US. He uses the voices of his parents to expresses their fears and anxiety of a young boy coming to terms with racial inequality. However, these spoken fears are careful juxtaposed with the mages of a happy child exploring his environment. Along with poetry and dance, the persona in the film performs an honest examination of his identity, enhanced by the crisp monochrome images.


Written by: Hakeem Adam.


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