June 20, 2012. The Ismailia International Festival for Documentary and Short Films announced yesterday, that it had changed the setup of the international jury. President of the international jury will now be cineast Hans-Christian Mahnke, replacing Ally Derks, IDFA director, who had to cancel her attendance due to unforeseen circumstances.nBorn 1978, German-American national Hans-Christian Mahnke is the founder and director of the Namibian section of AfricAvenir Windhoek.
As co-founder of the German section of AfricAvenir he has been involved in an African film series called “African Perspectives” since 2004. When he moved to Namibia in 2006, he was confronted with a lack and absence of screening facilities and no cinema culture in Namibia, and hence continued the film series “African Perspectives” in Windhoek. In 2007, when he founded the Namibian branch of AfricAvenir, AfricAvenir started to regularly screen African movies in four central cultural places in Windhoek, Namibia, in order to highlight good quality African cinema to the Namibian public.nDue to the visits of filmmakers from other African countries, AfricAvenir under Mahnke’s leadership has fostered regional integration of national film industries and created off-spring projects due to these visits, linking filmmakers and industries together and also promoting these film products across the national borders.
Mahnke already served on the jury of Cape Winelands Film Festival (CWFF), in Cape Town and Stellenbosch in March 2011, the jury of the University of Namibia (UNAM) Amateur Short Film Festival in September 2011, and he was chairperson of the jury of the 10th International Images Film Festival (IIFF) for Women, Harare, in November 2011. nAs Guest of honour he represented AfricAvenir at the 1st "Luxor African Film Festival" in Egypt, February 2012, where AfricAvenir was official partner to the festival. nAs head of AfricAvenir, in cooperation with Joe Vision Production and the Franco Namibian Cultural Centre (FNCC), Mahnke has established the "Namibian Movie Collection", which is a collection of Namibian films made accessible to the Namibian public. The project started in 2009. Prior to this, Namibian films up to then where not archived or stored, and there was no place where Namibian films could be watched or rented out.nSince the project started, the collection now has grown to the size of almost 50 films, publicly available in Windhoek, and at other places around the globe.
Mahnke served as vice-chairperson on the Filmmakers Association of Namibia (FAN) from 2010-2011. In this capacity, he organized a Namibian film festival in 2010 in order to showcase and celebrate Namibian film products. Earlier in 2009 a previously existing film festival in Namibia ceased to exist and hence it was decided there is a need for a local platform to acknowledge local cinematic products. The festival became a success and will be repeated in November 2012.