The Archipelago of Cinemas
It has now been eight years since the toolkit of Île Courts Festival has been setting up, step by step, its projects that span from one end of the chain of the filmmaking process to the other, all with the sole aim of fostering the development of Mauritian cinema and the (re)birth of Indian Ocean cinemas. That’s the reason for existence of The Archipelago of Cinemas, beneficiary of the programme ACPCultures+ between 2014-2016, to allow Porteurs d’Images association to perpetuate the festival and to regionalize its iniatives through the Forum Film Bazar. Porteurs d’Images Association firmly believes that it’s only with religionalization and the political support of national and regional institutions that a high-quality Indian Ocean cinema will be able to emerge on the international scene.
In 2015, Île Courts Festival is unfolding the screen of its 8th edition.
As a genuine little film factory, it is building up its collections, year-on-year.
Strong believer in the role of youth in shaping culture and the future, and in the importance of diversity and openness to the outside world in developing citizen identity, it’s at the University of Mauritius that the roaming festival lets down its anchor, so that the spirit of the popular spots of our night events shine all the better.
In a well-established tradition, it is the 2015 collection produced in the framework of the FILM FABRIK programme that acts for the opening of the festival, as witness to the vibrancy of cinematographic creation in Mauritius, all under the kind patronly gaze of the British-Nigerian director Newton I. Aduaka. And it’s at the movie theatre of MCiné Trianon that we’ll be able to rediscover the feature-length work Lonbraz Kann, Mauritian narrative film, coming back to our land after a wonderful journey across the world’s festivals.
A temporary film school will be set up at the University of Mauritius, armed with professional workshops (trademark of the festival), the masterclass hosted by the festival’s patron, and also youth workshops. It’s also there that we will find the reception desk of the festival, that we will have lunch with the festival participants, and that we will, each new day, offer ourselves a trip of the imagination to the cinematographic creations of the world, in the company of the series of screenings aptly entitled La Tête Ailleurs. A mere two steps away, in Rose-Hill, kids will watch our “Young Audiences” program with star-struck eyes at the IFM while our filmmakers explore and document the town.
And the festival is a voyage, one that has only just started!
From the quiet heart of the village of Chemin Grenier to the bustling port of the Caudan Waterfront in Port-Louis, from the lively garden of the Plaza Theatre to the magical bay of Tamarin, the Sinema Koltar series offers you a passionate cinematic experience, one of encounters with an amazing selection of short films from the entire Indian Ocean and world. As opening act, our Soundtracks offer you a musical moment to make yourself, your family and friends feel relaxed and at ease.
So as to not miss a single moment of the festival, journalism students of the university are keeping a live blog to be read, seen and listened to daily on the website of the magazine Kozé!
May we extend our greatest thanks to the audiences, the invited guests, the filmmakers, teams, association, partners and financial sponsors, all these spirits brimming with energy, to the general atmosphere of enthusiastic solidarity that’s carrying the festival forward this year, for its 8th edition!
representing the team of Île Courts Festival
PRESIDENT OF PORTEURS D’IMAGES
« It is important that alongside the blockbusters there are stories that can inspire and audiences can experience together in the cinema ».
Let us dare to dream: one day, in our laudable concern to merge our touristic image with the development of our cultural sector, the Public-Private Partnership launches itself into the production of a Mauritian mega-blockbuster. Let’s say, that of an invasion of the island by a fleet of robotized sperm whales that have emerged from the depths of the oceans. Haunted as we are by a never-ending worry to accurately depict our cultural diversity, our scriptwriters (and, obviously, the final script is drawn by a committee) are careful enough to slip, in-between the necessary scenes of any self-respecting action movie (destruction of our mini-skyscrapers by revengeful crustaceans, crazy pursuit on the M1 highway amidst buses and camions banane, ect.)… three Bollywood-style musical numbers, two kung-fu fights and one sega song. Without forgetting to sprinkle the whole — for the touristic promotion side of things — with a good thirty minutes of sunsets and massage sessions in our 5-star spas. We’ve got to admit that these are all the necessary ingredients to concoct a masterpiece.
Pendant l’année 2015, Porteurs d’Images, l’association qui met en œuvre le Festival Île Courts, a beaucoup œuvré à la diffusion de la culture cinématographique. En particulier, elle a organisé 2 cycles de formation à l’éducation à l’image pour des enseignants et futurs enseignants de Maurice, et mis en chantier la création de fiches pédagogiques sur les courts métrages mauriciens, afin d’aider les enseignants qui souhaitent utiliser nos films dans leurs cours. Elle a également permis la diffusion en plein air de Lonbraz Kann, long métrage de David Constantin, dans les lieux où le film a été tourné. Enfin, elle a porté plusieurs projections de courts métrages en écoles ou à l’université.
Nevertheless — and against the protests of those who would rather see the above-described masterpiece— our association aims to reach a more modest, more intimate kind of cultural audience. We work for the promotion of an “inspiring” cinema, as notes Mr. Chadwick above, but also for the meeting of this cinema with its right audience. The support given by public authorities will be crucial for the survival — and flourishing — of such a cinema.
All through 2015, Porteurs d’Images — the association that makes the wheels of the Île Courts Festival turn — has worked towards the vulgarization of a film culture. To be more precise, it has organized two cycles of audiovisual education for the teachers and future teachers of this country. It has also created educational sheets about short Mauritian films that might be available to teachers who wish to integrate our films into their syllabi. It has also screened the feature-length work of David Constantin, Lonbraz Kann, in the open air, and what more, in the very places the film has been shot. Finally, it has screened multiple short films in high schools and the university.
It’s important for us to operate in such a way that Mauritian filmmakers don’t find themselves afflicted by that terrible curse of other artists of the island: to be more known and appreciated in foreign countries than locally.
Because Mauritian cinema is travelling to farther and farther horizons. And that’s exactly why a good deal of the patient work of our team of collaborators and volunteers is to weave links with the other festivals of the world. New films are born. With this spirit, the association Porteurs d’Images, which has produced more than thirty short Mauritian films since 2009, is proud to present, at the opening night of this year’s edition, three new films.
Little by little, all the elements necessary for the emergence of a Mauritian cinema industry are coming together. The skilled professionals in the local scene are starting to gain visibility: the festival will be, once more, the setting for scriptwriting, directing and technical workshops. It will, in addition, allow the youngest to live their first experiences of cinema side-by-side with the invited guests of the festival.
May this 8th edition of the Île Courts Festival spark up the desire in Mauritians to acquaint themselves with arthouse cinema, both that of our own country and others.
Porteurs d’Images Association
« Carry forward (de + en +) your visual cultures! »
In 2010, world leaders met up at the United Nations to recognize the importance of the arts in development and, more specifically, in the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Today, global networks are mobilizing themselves around the campaign of “We want a future that embraces creativity and the arts” so that the post-2015 development agenda (which is heir to the MDGs) includes “the transformative power of the arts.”
Aware that the arts is a crucial factor for human development, the European Union has integrated cultural activities within its cooperation programs. These activities are financed under multiple thematically- and geographically-grouped projects, among which figure the ACP CULTURES + programme (for the 79 countries of Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific).
ACP CULTURES + aims to lend a helping hand to the fight against poverty, for the emergence and strengthening of sustainable cultural industries, for the consolidation of the relationship between the arts and overall development, and for the preservation of cultural diversity. More than two-thirds of a budget of 30 million euros allocated to the programme ACP CULTURES + has already been used to finance 55 projects which are being set into motion in some sixty ACP countries by more than 200 cultural operators. Among these projects, 33 have to do with cinema and the audiovisual industry. And among these 33 projects, we find two for this region of the world:
– The production of the feature-length narrative film “Lonbraz Kann” of the Mauritian director David Constantin, which has won the prize for best screenplay at the 36th Edition of the Durban International Film Festival (DIFF) that look place last July.
– The Archipelago of Cinemas project that the European Union supports since December 2013 (and will do until 2016) via the association Porteurs d’Images. It’s through this project that Porteurs d’Images is organizing the 8th Edition of the Île Courts Festival that will take place between 6-10 October 2015 on Mauritius. The festival will develop itself around screenings, that of both regional and international short films, throughout the island, and around (scriptwriting, directing, technical) workshops for cinema professionals.
These two projects highlight one part of the cultural richness and diversity of the region. I am happy that the European Union might contribute to them.
I also have to make mention of the initiative of the Indian Ocean Commission (COI) in giving the young winners of the “EcoClip” video contest — organized under the banner of the project ISLAND and financed by the EU — the opportunity to participate to the next edition of the Île Courts Festival. Six winners (Mauritius, Comoros, Seychelles, Madagascar, Réunion Island and Zanzibar/Tanzania) have been invited to the festival, where their films — each one a regional winner of the contest’s six regions — will be screened. A wonderful occasion to centrestage the work of these young Indian Oceanic filmmakers on important topics like sustainable development and, eventually, foster burgeoning creativity in the audiovisual field. At a time when youth is in search of strong emotions, the Île Courts Festival, through image, sound and stories weaved into the screen, will be an apt platform for giving visibility to young talents, stirring emotions and making the minds of the general audience fly into dreams.
I have to congratulate Porteurs d’Images for having made possible the continuation of this wonderful initiative that aims to make the Mauritian public discover the art of short films and to promote artistic creation in the Indian Ocean region. It’s a great opportunity for sharing. And an opportunity to consolidate the friendly ties between the peoples of the region.
Head of the delegation of the European Union in the Republic of Mauritius