Super 16 [Take IV] – African Short Films To See

It’s been a while but Super 16 is back. For those of you unfamiliar, Super 16 is a monthly list of short films for Africans by Africans from all over the world that we recommend you see. Everything from experimental performances to short documentaries find their way onto our reel as long as they attempt to tell an authentic story in a compelling way.
This edition is a mixed bag with experimental poetry and an unlikely homage to a classic we all love. We hope you find time to go through the list. You can also check out the previous editions here!


The Colored Hospital: A Visual Poem

8 minutes

(2016, USA)

Dir: Terrance Daye

There is a lot to unpack in this experimental short film by Terrance Daye. Aptly subtitled a visual poem, The Coloured Hospital leverages sight, sound, light and colour, in a very transient yet stricken manner to highlight the fragile state of the mental health of black bodies. The audience sees a metaphorical representation of the ill suited care a black men receives in coping with the consist trauma people of colour face which has an impact on their ability to brace adversity or merely exist and function in the world. A Colored Hospital unfolds all of this without being overbearing and imposing. Terrance Daye find the perfect balance and tells the story beautiful. This might be the best experimental film we have seen this year and might benefit from a longer write-up.

House Girl

15 minutes

(2017, Ghana)

Dir: Koby Adom

House Girl throws a spotlight on the precarious lives of domestic workers in Ghana by unveiling the abuse they endure from a foreign perspective. A visitor’s presence in a middle class Ghanaian home allows viewers to learn how domestic workers are relegated to second class status, hidden in kitchen and store rooms, despite the work they contribute to the household. The student film by Koby Adom also does well to illustrate how class disparities alienate empathy especially in the wake of this essay that sparked global debate on the blurred lines between slavery and domestic labor . However House Girl has the shadow of Ousmane Sembéne La Noire de/Black Girl hovering over it. At times it feels like a homage to the brilliant classic, yet the placement of the statue/traditional mask motif from La Noire de in this new film feels off, especially as it doesn’t add anything to the plot. Regardless it’s a good debut film which should open up conversation that Ghanaians avoid having about domestic labour.


Worlasi – Too Naughty

5 minutes

(2017, Ghana)

Dir: Woralsi, Elizabeth Sutherland, Idris Solomon

Worlasi is definitely one of the most exciting artists coming out of Ghana at the moment. His uncanny lyricism and organic sound make him stick out of the bunch. Too Naughty might just be his most overt statement of intent yet. The monochrome performance art film reverberates the emotion behind the ballad he sings. The video is set against a plain dark background with the spellbinding choreography from Elizabeth Sutherland drawing you in and out of the complexity he sings about. It’s such a joy to behold, especially as music video in these part often don’t push beyond the popular glossy images. You’re bound to respect the artistry of Worlasi after seeing this video


We Need Prayers

9 minutes

( 2017, Kenya)

Dir: The Nest Collective

We Need Prayers takes you to the heart of fright, where reasoning almost abandons you to grapple with the uncertainty of emotion. This terrifying and riveting short film, is an intriguing exposé into prosocial behavior in an african context as it addresses the phenomenon of “Nairobbery”. A couple wake up in the middle of the night to discover their neighbors being robbed. What do they do? The film carefully shows how we go about making decision admits danger, taking into consideration, social media and other modern ways of spreading information. How much can Facebook help you when you’re in need. We Need Prayers is also entirely in an Kenyan language, another distinctive feature of The Nest Collective we love. The group of artists based in East Africa who frequently collaborate with each other to impact their societies embody the “for us by us” mentality we should all have. You can check out more of their work here. We Need Prayer was commissioned by Contemporary And and is screening exclusively here.

Written by Hakeem Adam


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