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‘Granma Nineteen and the Soviet’s Secret’, a film directed by Mozambican João Ribeiro with a screen play adapted from a story by Angolan writer Ondjaki, has its world premiere on Sunday at the Pan-African Film Festival in the United States [PAFF-LA ]. The movie was shot in Maputo and Matola in 2018 and premiéres in Mozambique in Maputo, in Cinema Scala, on February 28, at the opening of the 5th Mozambique African Film Week .
Producer Fado Filmes explains the film is a Mozambique-Portugal-Brazil co-production, and the cast features three young actors – Keanu dos Santos, Caio Canda and Thainara Barbosa – as protagonists, joined by Anabela Adrianopoulos, Dmitry Bogomolov, Filimone Meigos and Flavio Bauraqui.
‘Granma Nineteen and the Soviet’s Secret’ is an adaptation of Ondjaki’s novel of the same name, published in 2008, which won the Brazilian Jabuti prize in the Youth Literature category and was shortlisted for the Portugal Telecom prize.
The story, inspired by the author’s childhood memories, is set in Luanda’s Praia do Bispo neighbourhood in the 1980s, during the construction of the mausoleum of Agostinho Neto, Angola’s first president.
The Mozambican director calls the novel “an adventure book” with “very peculiar characteristics – a mixture of childhood memories and dreamlike fantasy, a look at a moment in history filled with small stories”.
‘Granma Nineteen and the Soviet’s Secret’ enjoyed financial support from the Ibermedia programme, Brazil’s Ancine agency, and the Portuguese Film and Audio-visual Institute (ICA).
João Ribeiro, born in Mozambique in 1962, is the director of many short and feature films, having made his debut with ‘Fogata’, based on a text by Mia Couto, in 1992. His previous film is an adaptation of another Mia Couto novel, ‘The Last Flight of the Flamingo’ (2010).
The 27th Pan African Film Festival started on Tuesday in Los Angeles, California, and ends on the 23rd February.
The Pan African Film Festival is the largest film festival in the United States dedicated to the exhibition of Black films. Each year PAFF exhibits more than 180 films made by and/or about people of African descent made in the U.S., Africa, Europe, the Caribbean, the South Pacific, Latin America, Canada and Asia. In 2019, 40,000+ people from both the industry and the public attended PAFF. The 28th Annual PAFF will take place in Los Angeles February 11 — 23, 2020.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences designated PAFF as an official qualifying film festival for live action and animation short films. USA Today selected PAFF as #3 in their list of 10 Best Film Festivals in the U.S.
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