ROFFEKE OFFICIAL SELECTIONS 2020

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Comments on "The ABC of ROFFEKE" Screenings (September 2015 at iHub)

I liked all the films especially the one for Superman [“This is Joe”] and the last one which was longer [“ Frontman ”]. I look forward to at...

Thursday, December 24, 2020

ROFFEKE OFFICIAL SELECTION 2020 (Partial Listing)

A Youtube playlist featuring some of the short films, music videos and rockumentaries submitted to ROFFEKE in 2020. Watch it here.

 'Tis the holiday season, so the first music video is "Just Like Xmas" by Tom Tikka.

The year 2020 has been a bit...much, and the theme and inspiration behind the second music video speaks to this:

"In a divided time, when only the most sensational acts are acknowledged by the public, a shy man longs to be seen and heard. In particular, he seeks the attention of a girl who mesmerizes him and awakens his creative passion, but when he falls prey to the seductions of easy fame, will he pay the price for losing his true self? The 5th chapter, "Woke," from Kenny Cash's iLLustrated Opera (dubbed the iLL Opera) features Jaqx finding the courage to use his voice,  but when he finally protests against the dividing forces that rule his world he is forced to confront his hyped up alter ego.  Musically, "Woke" Blend of punk, funk and jazz fusion w/ aggressive vocals which reflect the battle that ensues."

Director's Statement: " After nearly forty years on the planet without paying much attention to politics, I never imagined a time would come when I had to express my opinion on the political landscape of the world that we live in. But following the 2016 presidential election, not having a political voice seems to have become an impossible task. The world has started to look a bit like a cartoon to me, where interaction doesn’t happen so much face to face, but rather with hyper-caricatures of one another on social media. I had always loved comic books, science fiction, stories of illuminati, and tales of redemption, so voicing myself through an even more caricaturized graphic approach just seemed right. Being a part of social media left me with my own internal struggle, as it is easy to fall prey to its seduction and the pull of media in general. What we see and hear repeatedly tends to shape our thoughts and close our minds to other's perspectives. If, at the core, the majority of humans tend to desire similar things, then why are we so divided in our approach to obtain them? So this is my voice for the new generation: my kids’ generation. Find your voice, use your voice, but always challenge your voice by listening to another’s."

The last music video in this playlist is a rollercoaster romp through an other-worldly reality - sort of like what 2020 felt like. The difference is that this music video is fun to watch, the song is sure to get you moving and the story is captivating:

"The hero breathes a cloud of strange smoke. He bangs a spray paint that turns into a living and dancing cartoon robot in the wall. All over the city, we see graffiti come to life to join our protagonist, who is going to get caught, to end up like a black and white 2D poster on the wall (like JR). Guided by the robot / bomb in the wall, he will meet 3 characters, the freaks of Caravan Palace, scary and crazy, who will first haunt him, pursue him, then finally amuse him to the point of dancing with them in a crazy way." (Director: Béchir "Jiwee" Jouini)

The year 2020 has been a cloud of strange smoke. It has haunted us and pursued us but hopefully, with a bit of friendship, fun and freedom, we can get to the point of dancing with it in a crazy way and ending the year on a high note. Happy holidays everyone!

Review: Ma Rainey's Black Bottom

Reviewer: Love Kassim

The opening shot seems so familiar; two black boys in period costumes on the run in the forest and it clicks: they must be running away from slavery but then we see that they are running towards something - the music of Ma Rainey (Viola Davis).

She sings the blues, an entirely African American-created art form that brings black people together, though as Ma Rainey later puts it, the music suffering even if it doesn't provide an escape from it.

Black artistry portrayed in this movie comes alive thanks to the powerhouse performance from Levee especially (played by the late Chadwick Boseman in his final role).

Both characters have large personalities but only one of them is actually aware of the White exploitation that is coming for black art. Boseman and Davis are electrifying even if there are times when the film strains against the confines of its stage originsThere is a struggle since the movie was written to be played on stage (August Wilson's play, MA RAINEY'S BLACK BOTTOM). The cinematography (George C Wolfe's adaptation) was okay, resulting in the other stuff melting away, like the source material was aimed at the stage rather than the screen

The movie is set in Chicago,1927.Ma knows that she has all the power in these recording sessions but the second her voice is on vinyl, it will be exploited. Tensions rise with the white manager struggling to facilitate a recording session with the dismissive producer. Here we see a portrait of how Black art is valued by its artists and the tragic economic realities that seek to steal art for white audiences.

Fun fact: Denzel Washington serves as a producer in this film.

What's so brilliant about this film defies easy description. Ma is strong but she is clearly exhausted, other times she is bitter but has affection for her family. Boseman consistently elicits our sympathy with every gesture and line. Levee is an astonishing role because you have a character who thinks he knows the score but we are all waiting for the fallout from the harsh lessons he is about to endureThis is acting at its finest and while the supporting cast deserves acclaim for their work, these two performances are what kept me glued to the screen

I felt like this film demands for us to explore how Black art is created then exploited and how we really haven't broken free.

This is a movie about the power of black art and why it must be cherished.

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Wine Game: A Metaphor for 2020?

Wine Game is a laugh-out-loud, 4-minute short film that I think could be a metaphor for the year 2020:

00:16 - Pandemic, lockdowns.

00:25 - Quarantined. Forced to look within. What are we carrying?

00:50 - New normal, new opportunities.

1:26 - In the new normal, it is not advisable to put new wine in old wine skins.

Wine "is a powerful literary metaphor used for centuries to refer to everything from love to blood to prosperity...no wonder the Greeks gave birth to the complex myth of Dionysius, a source of joy as well as thoughtless rage."

Some reviewers have likened the Wine Game story to that of the Sisyphus myth. According to Wikipedia:

"In Greek mythology Sisyphus or Sisyphos was the king of Ephyra (now known as Corinth). He was punished for his self-aggrandizing craftiness and deceitfulness by being forced to roll an immense boulder up a hill only for it to roll down every time it neared the top, repeating this action for eternity. Through the classical influence on modern culture, tasks that are both laborious and futile are therefore described as Sisyphean."

Of course, metaphors are subject to breaking down. Still, the beauty of "Wine Game" is that it is open to interpretation. To borrow from Robert Louis Stevenson's quip, "Wine Game is bottled poetry."

Friday, December 11, 2020

“That girl hitting the piñata was an act of resistance” - Review of Rockumentary directed by Nelson Varas-Diaz

 Can I just say that girl hitting the piñata was an act of resistance?”

So begun Love Kassim’s comments regarding “Acts of Resistance: Heavy Metal Music in Latin America” At first I laughed but after reflecting for a few seconds, I replied:

“Actually your comment is very profound now that I think about it. A few people at the top are holding all the resources. We little people (We are the 99 percent) need to hit that piñata till we can access what is rightfully ours!”


My comment may have been influenced by my week-long, virtual attendance of the Democracy and Rights Festival. For more information about this and to check out my tweets and those of other “keyboard warriors” check out the hashtag #DemocracyAndRightsFestival

Love Kassim agreed with me about the piñata being a metaphor for resources: “It really is. You have to struggle and shake it out from the people on top to get basic needs.”

She went on to comment:

I love this rockumentary. It shows how metal music in Latin America has affected the way people view their history as a countryThese bands have challenged me .I now see the world broadly.

Books as entry f(r)ee? Now tell me if that isn't genius. That right there is an act of change and resistance. Metalheads doing concerts to get their friend freed and also educating others? Man oh man. Mind blown.

I always hear Medellin and think of drugs, cartels, death...the concerts and tats...and government actually recognising the fact that these concerts have an impact on not only tourism but that they also bring people of all walks of life together.

And people demanding for their rights in metal music? Phenomenal.

The theme is awareness brought by metal music on resistance and I see how it correlates with our situation [in Kenya]. This country needs an awakening and I'm happy bands here are addressing such situationsOr rather starting to.

Kenyan rock bands such as Rash and Parking Lot Grass have sung against corruption. I replied:

I am so proud of our bands. I think this is the power of rock. You can't ignore the problems in society. Yes, we have fun, but many rockers are always conscious of inequalities and injustice. It's in the DNA of rock ‘n’ roll, it being descended from songs sung by African slaves in America.

Watch "Acts of Resistance: Heavy Metal Music in Latin America" here:

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Acts of Resistance: Heavy Metal Music in Latin America (#HumanRightsDay online screening)

 Youtube premiere of "Acts of Resistance: Heavy Metal Music in Latin America" on #HumanRightsDay 10th December 2020, 8am (Kenyan time).

"Metal music in Latin America is simply unique. It has tackled head-on the ongoing aftermath of coloniality (poverty, dictatorships, neoliberalism) like very few other musical genres. Few people have documented it as consistently as Dr. Nelson Varas-Díaz, a Professor at Florida International University’s Department of Global and Socio-cultural Studies. This documentary film follows him as he continues his trek through Latin America, documenting the varied manifestations of metal music in the region. In this, his fourth film on the subject, he documents how metal fans and musicians use the power of music to change their societies. Whether inspiring support for rural schools in Guatemala, engagement in environmental activism in Ecuador, or work for memory and peace in Colombia, metal music has become a form of decolonial activism in Latin America. This is what happens when the music’s extreme sounds and lyrics are combined with local concerns with un buen vivir (a life well-lived). Metal has taken to the streets, and is a force to be reckoned with beyond the stage."

Youtube link

#aorrockumentary