4th Southern Lights on Tour at DFF

Southern Lights on Tour 2024

March 15-19, 2024: Frankfurt, DFF Cinema
April 15-16: Wiesbaden, Caligari FilmBühne
April 27-28: Dietzenbach, Main Kino D
May 4-5: Offenbach, Kino im Hafen 2
May 22-23: Hanau, Kulturforum

You can find the complete program in the Southern Lights program brochure and soon on the websites of the respective venues for viewing and booking. Furthermore, the accompanying program at the DFF, as well as all events held in Dietzenbach and Hanau, are provided at no cost.

Since 2020, Southern Lights has been showcasing films from the Global South at the DFF cinema. Now in its fourth edition, Southern Lights on Tour is expanding to four venues in the Rhine-Main region this April and May: Caligari FilmBühne in Wiesbaden, Main Kino D in Dietzenbach, Kulturforum in Hanau and Kino im Hafen 2 in Offenbach. This move is intended to take the festival’s diverse program of feature films, documentaries and short films from 15 countries beyond Frankfurt’s borders.

Unfortunately, due to technical reasons the film descriptions of the movies being screened at DFF Cinema can only be displayed in German, even on the DFF’s English website. Here are their English translations:

Friday, March 15, 4:45 pm


Kenya 2023. D: Andrew Harrison Brown, Moses Thuranira. Documentary feature. 82 Min. DCP
Swahili original version with German subtitles

In northern Kenya, the Turkana-Ngaremara culture is threatened by persistent drought. The consequences of climate change are endangering the people’s goat herds leading to increased attacks by wild animals. Because the young goatherd Kolei fails the traditional test to become a warrior, he loses the respect of the older warriors and is excluded from the village community. There is still no rain. The family loses livestock more and more frequently, either because criminal gangs steal the goats or because they are killed by starving wild animals. Kolei has then had enough and resolutely confronts the wild animals. The directors shot the film over four years in close collaboration with the Turkana-Ngaremara, who are fighting to preserve their traditional culture. BETWEEN THE RAINS was awarded as Best Documentary Film at the Tribeca Festival 2023.

Friday, March 15, 6:30 pm

Afghan evening with two films


Short film: INSIDE KABUL (FR/DK 2023. D: Caroline Gillet, Denis Walgenwitz)

In her animation Afghan artist Kubra Khademi visualizes original voicemails by two young Afghan women recorded when the Taliban seized power in 2021.


USA 2023. D: Babak Jalali. A: Anaita Wali Zada, Jeremy Allen White. 91 Min. DCP
Original version with German subtitles
Followed by: Talk with Nadia Qani-Schwarz (ZAN e.V.), moderated by Valentine Jerke (Outreach Manager, DFF)

After the Taliban seized power in 2021, Donya fled from Afghanistan to the USA. She leads an isolated life in the small town of Fremont. In addition to attending therapy sessions that seem absurd, she works a monotonous job in a fortune cookie factory. Finally, she tries to take action against her loneliness by hiding a message with her phone number in a fortune cookie and sending it out into the world like a message in a bottle. Iranian director Babak Jalali shot the award-winning film in just 20 days. The tranquil shots and laconic tone are reminiscent of the early films of Jim Jarmusch or Aki Kaurismäki, particularly because of the black and white images. The main character Donya is played by the Afghan journalist and TV presenter Anaita Wali Zada, who also left her country after the Taliban seized power. Her personal experience seems to be reflected in her portrayal. It is her face that the director wisely relies on, because even without much dialogue she manages to express both painful grief and defiant humor in equal measure. 

Friday, March 15, 9:45 pm


Argentina 2022. D: Clara Cullen. A: Barbara Lombardo, Alma Farago, Sophie Buhai, 70 Min. DCP
Original version with English subtitles 

Manuela, a migrant from Argentina, is looking for a job in Los Angeles and introduces herself to Ellen, a successful manager in an affluent neighborhood who is looking for a nanny for her young daughter Alma. Ellen is never at home. Sometimes she communicates with Manuela and Alma via the security cameras installed in the house. A close and loving relationship develops between Manuela and Alma, with Manuela increasingly taking on the role of a mother and eventually wearing her clothes and jewelry. When Ellen fails to return from a business trip, Manuela has to make a difficult decision. 

Saturday, March 16, 2 pm


Philippines 2022. D: Martika Ramirez Escobar. A: Sheila Francisco, Bong Cabrera. 99 Min. DCP
Original version with English

Followed by: Talk with Martika Ramirez Escobar 

Leonor Reyes was once a successful screenwriter for Filipino action films, but not much is left of her career. Today she can barely pay the electricity bill. When she discovers an advert looking for good scripts, she pulls out an old script: the story of the noble Ronwaldo, who wants to avenge his brother’s murder. Before she can finish it, however, a television set falls on her head and she falls into a coma. Suddenly she is in the middle of the film and discovers the perfect ending. At the same time, her son tries to find out where his mother has gone. 

Martika Escobar’s debut film is an inventive piece of cinematic pleasure with numerous references to 1970s B-action films against the backdrop of a family story that must be taken seriously, and is carried by the outstanding lead actress Sheila Francisco. The film has won several awards, including the Special Jury Prize for Innovative Spirit at the 2022 Sundance Festival. 

After the screening, Thi Hien Mai (DFF) will talk to director Martika Ramirez Escobar. 

Saturday, March 16, 5 pm


Malaysia 2023. D: Badrul Hisham Ismail. A: Sofia Jane, Omar Abdullah, Azman Hassan. 103 Min. DCP
Original version with English subtitles

Followed by: Talk with the artist Yati Kaprawi, moderated by Andrea Hartmann 

50-year-old gallery owner Maryam comes from an aristocratic and wealthy family. When she falls in love with a young man from Sierra Leone, the two want to get married. However, in a patriarchal society, this requires the consent of her father, who vehemently refuses. Director Ismail follows Maryam on her lonely journey through hostile bureaucracy, characterized by misogyny and racism, as she tries to push through the marriage. She is thrown from one humiliating situation into the next. Maryam can be seen in bright, light-flooded rooms – unveiled to be glass cages that give the illusion of openness, as racism, classism and misogyny structurally dominate society. 

Saturday, March 16, 8 pm


Canada 2023. D: Babak Payami, A: Hamed Esmaeilion. 90 Min. DCP
English original version

Followed by: Talk moderated by Valentine Jerke 

On 8 January 2020, Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 was shot down by Iranian military missiles immediately after take-off from Tehran airport. All 176 people on board were killed, including the wife and nine-year-old daughter of Iranian-Canadian dentist Hamed Esmaeilion, who has been desperately trying to find out the truth about the missile attack ever since. Director Payami accompanies Esmaeilion’s tireless and grueling struggle and juxtaposes it with old video footage of the family from happier times. In this way, he shows the pain and grief of Esmaeilion, who nevertheless always finds the courage and strength to fight on. 

Sunday, March 17, 5 pm


Colombia 2021. D: Carlos Zapata. A: Isaac Rodríguez, Dayana Vargas, José Vargas. 115 Min. DCP
Original version with English subtitles

Followed by: Talk with social worker Sophia Behl (OSSIP) and care worker Daniel Fernando Cruz (Aschaffenburg), moderated by Tharaka Sriram (DaMigra) 

Titi, Carlitos, Betún, Jhon and Pinky are children of different ages living on the streets of Bogotá who have come together to fight for survival. Brutal murderers keep killing children on the streets by setting them on fire while they sleep. When Titi returns to the group after an argument, he realizes that his friends have all been killed. Now Titi is all alone. His dead friends appear to him as ghosts, follow him and comment on his lonely journey, but he cannot see them. Finally, Titi meets the girl Ratona, who is accompanied by an invisible dog. Director Zapata combines tragedy and fantasy with eerie foggy images that show the dangers and violence on the streets. 

Sunday, March 17, 8:15 pm


Namibia 2023. D: Perivi Katjavivi, A: Girley Jazama, David Ndjavera, Roya Diehl. 90 Min. DCP
English original version
Followed by: Talk and poetry reading with writer and activist Stefanie Lahya Aukongo 

It begins with cattle killings on a farm in Namibia. Policewoman Christina Mureti, who is tasked with solving the case, soon realizes that she is not getting anywhere with conventional investigative methods. When a farmer of German origin is found hanging from a tree and his wife reacts strangely coldly, it becomes clear that there is more to the story. 

Namibian director Perivi Katjavivi establishes a causal link between a murder in present-day Namibia and the trauma of German colonialism, when Lieutenant General von Trotha ordered the complete extermination of the Herero and Nama in 1904/05. Up to 100,000 people were murdered, died of thirst in the Omaheke desert or died in concentration camps. The genocide is considered the first of the 20th century. Told from a Namibian perspective, it becomes clear that the trauma of the genocide still has an impact today.  

Monday, March 18, 5 pm


Brazil/France 2022. D: Flávia Neves. A: Bárbara Colen, Nena Inoue, Eucir de Souza, Fernanda Vianna. 100 Min. DCP
Original version with English subtitles

Followed by: Talk with Dr. Adriana Maximino dos Santos (Abá e.V.Arbeitskreis für Menschenrechte), moderated by Tharaka Sriram (DaMigra) 

After many years, young Fernanda returns to her wealthy and influential uncle and his family to bring back the ashes of her deceased adoptive mother. On arrival, she wants to find out the truth about her roots. It becomes apparent that Fernanda’s uncle, the owner of a large piece of land who is running for mayor, increasingly regards her investigation as a threat. 

In her debut film, Flávia Neves demonstrates how the historically established colonial hierarchies, classism and racism and the associated conditions of exploitation still exist today. Fernanda symbolizes the courageous attempt to break up these rigid structures – in the hope of a better future. 

Monday, March 18, 8:15 pm

Queer feminist short film program with 3 films 

Cuba 2022. D: Gretel Marin Palacio. 28 Min. DCP
Original version with English

Nigeria 2020. D:
Uyaiedu Ikpe-Etim. 38 Min. DCP
English original version

Nigeria 2018. D: Pamela Adie. 55 Min. DCP
English original version

In Havana, queer-feminist activist Afibola tries to prepare her eight-year-old son Olorun for life in a society characterized by capitalism and machismo. She talks to him about issues such as poverty, injustice and prejudice, also because she knows that he will have to stand up to discrimination. In quiet shots, director Gretel Marin repeatedly films through window and door frames, impressively visualizing the contrast between the safe interior and a threatening outside world that the boy has to face. 
Main prize in the international competition at the Oberhausen Short Film Festival 2023 

Ifé and Adaora, two young Nigerian women meet on a date and fall in love. It becomes clear: More could develop if it weren’t for the social pressure of a homophobic society. Ifé is the first Nigerian film ever about lesbian love. Here, too, the poles – safe interior space and threatening outer space – are visualized. The film was produced by Nigerian LGBTQIA+ activist Pamela Adie, about whose life a documentary will be shown afterwards. 

The film documents the life story of LGBTQIA+ activist Pamela Adie. She was the first Nigerian woman to make a documentary about her lesbian coming out and talks in interviews about the lack of role models, marginalization and alienation, including from family and friends. With this cinematic self-empowerment, she wants to ensure greater visibility and give other women in the same situation the courage and strength to come out in a country where homosexuality is still illegal and coming out is a major risk. As director of The Equality Hub, a Nigerian non-profit organization that uses audiovisual media to campaign for the rights of the LGBTQIA+ community, she demonstrates how important self-representation is to her. 

Tuesday, March 19, 3 pm


The Blue Caftan
France/Morocco/Belgium 2022. D: Maryam Touzani. A: Lubna Azabal, Saleh Bakri, Ayoub Missioui. 118 Min. DCP
Original version with German subtitles

Halim and Mina have been married for a long time and run a traditional kaftan business together. Their marriage is loving and harmonious, although both know that Halim is homosexual. This is a taboo and they both guard this secret. But then Mina falls ill and the new apprentice awakens feelings in Halim. 

In Morocco, homosexuality is a criminal offense. Maryam Touzani tells the story in subtle hints, with glimpses through doors into closed off rooms. The titular blue caftan is sewn with great patience and sensitivity and symbolizes the love of traditional craftsmanship as well as the characters’ deep affection for one another. Close-ups savor the sensuality of the flowing fabrics and thus become tender touches.  

Tuesday, March 19, 5:30 pm


Cambodia 2023. D: Tom Colognese, Vanna Hem. 71 Min. DCP
Original version with German subtitles
Followed by: Talk with directors Tom Colognese and Vanna Hem (via zoom) 

The directors followed the LOTUS SPORTS CLUB, a young female football team in Cambodia, for five years. The team is coached by Pa Vann, a trans* man, coach and father figure in one, who not only provides them with a home, but also teaches them practical skills that prepare them for a possible career. This is particularly important for the queer team members who have been rejected by their families. Although the group is repeatedly exposed to aggressive homophobia and transphobia at tournaments, the documentary shows how the passion for football and the strong cohesion of the community provide the individuals with courage and a joy for life.  

Tuesday, March 19, 8:15 pm


India 2022. D: Ektara Collective. A: Manisha Soni, Muskan, Aakash Jamra. 88 Min. DCP
Original version with English subtitles
Followed by: panel discussion with trans* activists Julia Monro and Lilith Raza (LSVD Bundesverband Köln), moderated by Pramila Chenchanna. 

After suddenly being evicted from their flat, two trans* women in Bhopal, India, set out in search of a new home. Self-confident and combative, they embark on a difficult journey. On the one hand, they have to defend themselves against trans*-phobia, but on the other hand, they keep meeting people who support them. In the end, they not only find a new flat, but also the strong community of a chosen family. A film that shows the discrimination of queer and trans* people, but at the same time emphasizes their courageous and positive self-empowerment.