In an aim to facilitate global conversations about how Africa is rising dynamically through film, the ARIFF will use technology to shine a spotlight on the craft of storytelling from the continent and the diaspora.

The film festival will open with Kagiso Lediga’s film Matwetwe, which is produced by Lediga and international DJ Black Coffee, who is making his first transition into feature films. The soundtrack features hip-hop artist Cassper Nyovest.

In addition, the festival will provide the audience with a series of African and international film premieres and screenings, roundtable panel discussions and masterclasses, along with a digital lab, where festival attendees will experience virtual reality screenings and web series content.

Bandwagon has partnered with the festival to bring its blockchain technology, which will work in conjunction with ARIFF’s ticketing partner, Howler, to gather and analyse data from the festival audience.

Bandwagon will also analyse social media data to help ARIFF better understand its global audience.

"Our mission is to bridge the gap between Africa and the world by using new age technology and mediums to connect filmmakers and their audiences," says Mandisa Vundla, ARIFF project manager. "Bandwagon’s fan analytics technology and activations is the ideal way to foster that sense of community and engagement between those two worlds."

"I embarked on the journey to build this festival just a few months ago, and many said it wouldn’t be possible," says Ayanda Sithebe, ARIFF festival director.

"I had very little resources and not a whole lot of money. But, I also had lots of support from volunteers and dedicated fellow young filmmakers, and eventually, the momentum began to grow and the Johannesburg community got involved," adds Sithebe.

You can follow ARIFF on Facebook or on Twitter.