05 08 14 Guido Huysmans passed away

Guido Huysmans, the Artistic
Director of the 
Afrika Filmfestival Leuven
 passed away suddenly at his home in
Diest. Guido had recently returned from a mission to Rwanda and Burundi where he
had very close contacts with professionals of the local film industry and
partners of the 
AFF. In Kigali, he was a member of the international jury of
the Rwanda Film Festival or 
Hillywood. A passionate advocate
for African cinema, Guido was very close to and considered an international
specialist on Burundian and Rwandan cinema.  
He knew also well most of the
Congolese, Mozambican, Senegalese, Burkinabese, South African, Tanzanian and
Kenyan filmmakers. He was working on a special project with film maker Raoul
Peck to publish a photo album of a Haitian photographer. Guido has been member
of international juries at international film festivals organized in Amiens,
Venice, Prix Italia Torino, Zanzibar, Kigali, Cape Town and Bujumbura. Many
international and national events and institutions like the Bozar, the Royal
Museum for Central Africa and the European Commission consulted or worked with
him on African cinema.

Guido was active in the alternative film
organization “
De Andere
 and the
Third World Movement from the time of his studies in Leuven. He later worked for
various social institutions and organizations as coordinator, editor, staff
member and educational expert. As a communications specialist for Doctors
without Borders (
Médecins Sans
 (MSF), he organized numerous exhibitions and events while coordinating the
work of the many volunteers.

In 1995 he became one of the
founders of the 
Afrika Filmfestival
 in Leuven. It happened in the wake
of the national manifestation of Vierkant Voor Afrika, where the national NGO’s
presented their activities in Africa.  From the very beginning Guido was deeply
concerned by the lack of African voices at this and other major cultural events
on Africa. 
 Over the years he strived to make the Afrika Filmfestival (AFF) a venue
where Africans told their own story. He obtained the full support from the
Province Flemish Brabant and the city of Leuven.  In Belgium he integrated in
the festival not only with the wider African film world, but also with the
various African communities in the country. He became an informal ambassador for
African cultural voices in Belgium and beyond. Guido turned the 
Afrika Filmfestival into one of the leading festivals of its kind in

In recent years Guido strived
to build an international collaboration between the various African film
festivals in Europe and to develop a sustainable a market for African
audio-visual productions and culture.  With the establishment of
African Artist Award, the integration of the Umoja fashion show with AFF and the organization of numerous exhibitions he was one of
the principal promoters of African artists in Flanders.

For Guido the Afrika Filmfestival was more than screening films. It was a way of bringing people together,
to counter prejudices and to create opportunities for the African talents in
Europe and in Africa. In this life project and passion, Guido was full supported
by his partner Bernadette, without whom his commitment and achievements would
not have been possible.

At the request of the family the funeral will take place in
an intimate circle. A wider memorial ceremony is planned in the autumn for the
numerous people whose lives Guido touched, especially in the circles of the
African Film industry. The passion, and steadfast commitment of one of African
cinema’s greatest advocates will be deeply missed and loss of Guido Huysmans
will be profoundly missed by many.

The family doesn’t wish flowers but a contribution can be
made for Guido’s project “Support of Young African Filmmakers”.

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