Africa and I’ wins Best First Feature Documentary at the 30th Anniversary Pan African Film Festival (PAFF) in Los Angeles.
The feature documentary ‘Africa and I’, that follows adventurer Othmane Zolati’s about his trip from Morocco to South Africa by bicycle, skateboard and on foot, through 24 countries over 30 000km, is making waves internationally.
Co-directed by Zolati and Chris Green (Chasing the Sun) and produced by Both Worlds Pictures (Puppet Nation ZA, Recipes for Love and Murder), the film was also selected for the Portland Film Festival 2021, the Africa World Documentary Film Festival 2022 and the American Documentary and Animation Film Festival (Amdocs) 2022.
PAFF is world-renowned for showcasing an extensive array of Black creative film works from across the globe, highlighting those that reinforce positive images and help to dismantle harmful beliefs and stereotypes.
Africa and I is the enchanting story of Othmane’s life when he left everything behind him and spent four years walking, cycling and skateboarding his way through Africa, from Morocco to Cape Town. On his journey, he saw that the continent he was warned about before he left home, the dark continent that the media shows us all, full of crime, disease and despair, was not the real story after all. Othmane found a continent that was vivid, varied and alive, full of beauty and surprises.
Othmane says, “After 7 years of hard work, my African dream became reality. A truly glorious moment for me and my entire team. This accomplishment will be a lifelong motivation enabling me to fulfill my future achievements. This is my very first award in the film industry, for which I, personally, am so grateful. Being here today, and after all that I have been through, is quite emotional for me. Reminiscing on how I started from scratch, as a 20 year old boy from El Jadida, Morocco with a mere $80 in his pocket hoping to have his dream come true, 7 years later, Sitting here today, with an award under my belt, is a motivation to keep me to continue and never, ever give up”.
Producer Thierry Cassuto says “From the first day Othmane showed me some of the 200 hundreds hours of beautiful footage he had filmed during his journey, making Africa & I has been an intense labour of love for the entire Both Worlds team and co-director Chris Green, who helped Othmane shape and tell his amazing story. We are grateful to the jury of the Pan African Film and Arts Festival for recognizing this first film by a young director who will, I am sure, take us through many more amazing adventures in the future”.
The documentary winning Best First Feature Documentary at the 30th Anniversary Pan African Film Festival (PAFF) makes it an official qualifier for The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.