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African Shorts at Sundance 2013

Read reviews and previews of African short films at Sundance 2013


The first narratives committed to celluloid were short films but unless you're heavy into the art they're not really considered 'real films'; and they're less and less visible. At the cinema, trailers for new blockbusters have replaced their bygone slot and timetabling conflicts mean they often have to compete with features in festival programmes. It's a shame because (1) it takes real skill to say what you want to say, how you want to say it in just 10 minutes and (2) much of the new talent that critics are famishing for is concentrated in the shorts competition where new filmmakers are honing their voice. Sundance screens 65 shorts, and this year, 5 of them are either by African directors or treat African themes. Unfortunately none these are part of the Sundance x YouTube alliance — an online screening of 12 shorts in the competition — but we've got you. Here's a mixture of reviews of the ones we've seen and previews of those we haven't. Click through for more and check out the our previews of the four African features at Sundance this year.

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Photo by Sabelo Mkhabela.

ProVerb’s Memoir Is A Huge Slap In The Face To South African Hip-Hop

In his memoir, one of South Africa's revered lyricists ProVerb and his co-author compromise his rich story with trite motivational talk.

The Book of Proverb

ProVerb has had a strange relationship with the SA hip-hop scene. Albeit being one of the most gifted lyricists the country has ever seen, he has grown to flow less and hustle more. Despite this, his name still comes up when the greatest (South) African rappers of all time are mentioned. MTV Base placed him as the 7th in their list of the greatest SA MCs of all time in 2018 for example.

The rapper-turned-media personality dedicates a paragraph of his memoir, The Book of Proverb, to explaining his complicated relationship with hip-hop. "Although I built my brand as a hip-hop artist, I never enjoyed full support or success from it," he writes. "Music is and always will remain a pass ion, but it stopped being viable when it stopped making business sense to me. If I was given more support, I might continue, but for now, I'll focus on my other hustles."

On the cover of the book which was released towards the end of 2020 by Penguin, Verb is wearing a charcoal blazer and sporting a white ball cap, so one can be forgiven for getting into it expecting both sides of his story. This memoir, however, is too vague to be a worthy read if you aren't necessarily reading to get motivated but to be simply informed and inspired.

While a few of The Book of ProVerb's chapters touch on his rap career, most of the book is about ProVerb the man, personality and businessman. Not so much one of the country's finest lyricists. This omission is a huge slap in the face for his fans and SA hip-hop fans in general.

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Filmmaker Akinola Davies Jr Explores the Sweet Spot Between Nollywood & Hollywood

Winner of the 2021 Sundance Film Festival, London-based Nigerian filmmaker Akinola Davies Jr speaks about his experimental film 'Lizard', what belonging looks like and the overlap between Hollywood and Nollywood.