Director: Ladji Diakité and Adama Drabo
Running Time: 90 min.
A gang of headhunters decapitate an albino villager, hoping that his body parts will make them rich, especially the head. Creating controversy, the other villages believe this will only bring misfortune. Which will it be, riches or misfortune?
Director: Isaac Julien
Running Time: 70 min.
Interviews, reconstructions and archive footage tell the story of the life and work of the highly influential anti-colonialist writer Frantz Fanon, author of ‘Black Skin, White Mask’ and ‘The Wretched of the Earth’ and his professional life as a psychiatric doctor in Algeria during its war of independence with France.
Director: Désiré Ecaré
Country: Ivory Coast
Running Time: 105 min.
Structured around the rhythm of a dance, filmmaker Désiré Ecaré weaves a rich tapestry of textures and cadences of life in the Ivory Coast in his film Faces of Women. This film displays in a comedy of manners the changing roles of women in West Africa. In the city, the dishmonger Bernadette finds it difficult to succeed in a market circumscribed by the backward attitudes of men when she tries to convert from a barter-based to a money-based operation. Meanwhile, Fanta learns karate to speak to men in their own language: force. Politically and stylistically adventurous, this two-part film explores the links between feminism, economics and tradition in modern day Africa, ironically pointing out similar patterns in the strategies adopted by women in patriarchal societies.
Director: Newton I. Aduaka
Country: Nigeria and France
Running Time: 110 min.
One fateful morning, as seven-year-old Ezra skips on his way to school, he is kidnapped by rebels and taken into the jungle to be trained as a soldier. Seven years later, Ezra sits in front of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission, where he is asked to piece together a jigsaw puzzle of facts from the night of a devastating attack on a village. When Ezra’s mute sister, Onitcha, chooses to reveal a secret she has kept from her brother, what is supposed to be a confession of a former child soldier attempting to find internal peace after the horrors he witnessed, soon becomes a trial for the previously committed combatant in Sierra Leone’s decade-long civil war. Ezra was the Winner of the Stallion de Yennenga ñ Fespaco 2007, INALCO Award, and UNFPA Award.
Director: Tsitsi Dangarembga
Running Time: 85 min.
Everyone’s Child tells the story of four siblings, Itai, Tamari, Norah and Nhamo, whose parents have both died of AIDS. The villagers, ignoring the usual custom, shun the orphans because of the stigma of AIDS. Their guardian, Uncle Ozias, who is a struggling small businessman, sells the family’s plow and oxen to pay off their father’s debts. Without the means to support themselves, the family disintegrates.
Director: Archival Newsreel
Country: Abyssinia (Ethiopia)
Running Time: 21 min.
Emperor Haile Selassie returns home to Abyssinia (Ethiopia) after his exile during the Italian occupation. British and Indian troops fight against Italians to “liberate a stolen empire,” and Selassie raises the red, green and gold flag.
Director: Zanele Muholi
Country: South Africa
Running Time: 14 min.
A photographer, Muholi is celebrating her exhibition in Johannesburg. Efficiently confrontational, the exhibition causes a stir and provokes an outcry on a subject that is particularly taboo: being black, and in this case, being lesbian. Forthright and beautifully shot, each monochrome photo captures the present reality of the photographer’s subjects, the daily discomfort, double lives, abuse and hatred. The photographs present a window into their world. This absorbing documentary explores that world’s reality.
Director: Lancelot Imasuen
Running Time: 105 min.
Emotional Crack displays the major societal influences that essentially eradicates homosexuality, even the very mention of it, from the surface of the country’s culture. However, homosexuality is still there.
Chudi and Crystal are married. However, Chudi, by beating and expecting her to remain in the house, follows a very traditional pressure that is often placed upon the male gender in Africa. When Chudi finds out that Crystal is homosexual he kicks her out of his home, despite being still married; leaving Crystal in a bad way with her family, who also shun her, and her partner who suddenly doesn’t seem very interested.
Director: Ousmane Sembène
Running Time: 101 min.
Language: Diola and French
During WWII, the French army drafted soldiers and commandeered supplies from even the most remote African villages. Emitai is the deceptively simple story of the silent resistence of the Diola tribe to such requisitions. While the elders pray to Emitai, the God of Thunder, the women, more pragmatically, are hiding the rice demanded by the French troops. Under the hot African sun, tensions slowly escalate, until the harrowing, seemingly fated ending. Sembène makes it clear though, that what triggers the French gendarmes’ anger is less of the concealing of supplies than the villagers’ firm resolve to carry out a funeral ceremony despite military orders.
Director: Zola Maseko
Country: South Africa
Running Time: 104 min.
Language: English, Afrikaans, and German
Drum depicts Sophiatown in the 1950s, a vibrant place full of music, love, and laughter, and the breeding ground for resistance. Set in Johannesburg during the era of Big Band Jazz, this film captures a period when a generation of courageous South African writers, critics, musicians and journalists emerged, intermingling with Shebeen queens, and tsotsismin loud shirts and wide brimmed hats. The popular Drum magazine is the platform for the film, led by Mr Drum Henry Nxumalo; a fun loving, hard-drinking philanderer and hotshot journalist. As Nxumalo gets swept up in the movement to challenge apartheid, his enterprising reportage leads him into direct conflict with South Africa’s apartheid machinery, with fatal consequences.
In 1960, Edward Simelane won a prize for his remarkable sculpture. He did not know that the contest was strictly for whites. While the committee decided to give him the award, it created a nation-wide outcry. An Afrikaaner man, who is moved by the Simelane’s work, invites him to have a drink, but is suddenly afraid to take him inside his flat. The film shows how class differences and racial prejudice can prevent us reaching, touching, and connecting with each other. This film was adapted for the screen from the Alan Paton story written in 1963 and winner of the special prize for short film at FESPACO. It was also screened at Cannes, the 1st Commonwealth Film Festival, and Zanzibar.
Director: Balufu Bakupa-Kanyinda
Country: Democratic Republic of the Congo
Running Time: 40 min.
The Draughtermen’s Crash tells the story of the president of a fictitious African nation who spends a sleepless night playing checkers with a pot-smoking vagabond who claims to be the all-round champion. However, the rules of the game entail the opponents howling vulgar and foul obscenities at one another. The champion proceeds to insult, and trounce, the President. His reward, and his fate, will not surprise anyone.
Director: Dumisani Phakathi
Country: South Africa
Running Time: 86 min.
Language: English and Zulu
This film is the story of Dumisani’s epic journey to find his 51 siblings and come to terms with the loss of his father as a child. Critics have compared this film to jazz music with bursts of joy and pain that allow the viewer to feel the family’s triumph over loss and longing. This film is as much the story of South Africa in search of its origins as it is Dumisani’s.
Director: Branwen Okpako
Running Time: 75 min.
In her accomplished graduation film, Branwen Okpako probes the conscience of the liberal establishment, uncovering the complex motivation of the high-profile politicians and journalists who both befriended and exploited Sam Meffire. From Sam’s German mother, we get the stranger-than-fiction story of Sam’s father and of the boy’s childhood in East Germany. Sam himself, currently serving a ten year prison sentence for robbery, gives an eloquent insight into his own tragic fate.
Director: Filmon Mebrahtu
Running Time: 56 min.
Over the course of ten months, this film follows the lives of three Sudanese refugees who resettle in the Philadelphia area and adjust to the new American culture and way of life.
Director: Salem Mekuria
Running Time: 61 min.
Deluge is a visual essay that tells the story of Ethiopian students and their struggle to bring change in the political and social landscape during the 1970’s. It is a tale in which the children of this ancient land abandoned their history, culture and identity and pinned their hopes on a foreign ideology.
Director: Joel Zito Araújo
Running Time: 92 min.
A documentary film about the taboos, stereotypes and struggles of black actors in the Brazilian Television “soaps.” The director based on his own memories and on a sturdy body of research evidence, analyzes race relations in Brazilian soap operas, calling attention to the influence this might have on black people’s identity-forming processes.
Director: Mohamed Camara
Running Time: 15 min.
Mariama is a poor woman whose son Bilaly is blind. Both are rejected by fellow villagers. One day Mariama saves a drowning man, Samba, who turns out to be an albino with healing powers. He offers to help restore Bilaly’s eyesight. The price she has to pay is great but she resigns herself to an act of incest in order to save her son.
Director: Pierre Yameogo
Country: Burkina Faso
Running Time: 90 min.
Language: Moré and French
In some parts of West Africa, women accused of witchcraft are torn from their families and banished to witch villages where they remain for the rest of their lives. Delwende is based on a true story about a woman driven out of her village after being wrongly accused of being a witch. On hearing the plight of her mother, Pogoubila travels to Ougadougou in search of her, determined to expose the hidden family secrets and clear her mother’s name. Like Sembène’s Moolaadé, this is a story of a mother and daughter that focuses on the human costs of traditional practices and women’s struggle for justice. A sensitively crafted human drama is told in the evocative music and voice of the Senegalese artist Wasis Diop.
Director: Micah Schaffer
Country: USA and Guinea
Running Time: 64 min.
Language: English, French, and Pulaar
Stunningly shot, this documentary examines the political, personal, and spiritual implications of the 1999 shooting death of Amadou Diallo and the death less than a year later of Jesse Thyne, an American Peace Corps volunteer, who lived and worked with Diallo’s family in his home village in Guinea.