Monday, 25 January 2016 20:50

Africa World Documentary Film Festival Takes Place at The Missouri History Museum Feb 5-7

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The 9th annual Africa World Documentary Film Festival, sponsored by the E. Desmond Lee Professorship in African/African American Studies at the International Studies and Programs Office, University of Missouri-St. Louis, will run from Friday, February 5, to Sunday, February 7 at the Missouri History Museum, 5700 Lindell Blvd (63112). This international festival is committed to promoting knowledge of the life and culture of the people of Africa worldwide, in a cinematic Pan-African context. During its St. Louis run, the festival will feature 14 films from nine countries, including South Africa, Ethiopia, Kenya, South Sudan, China and the United States. This event is free and open to the public. Middle and high school students from St. Louis area, (including students from Pamoja Preparatory Academy - an African centered St. Louis Public School), are expected to attend the opening day of the festival.

One of the added attractions of the festival will be Q&A’s with select filmmakers and various subject matter experts following the screening of the films.  A particular highlight will be a discussion with Bobby J. Brown, the director of Tear the Roof Off: The Untold Story of Parliament Funkadelic, a film about the rise and fall of one of the greatest funk bands ever, which will follow the screening of the film on Saturday, February 6. Joining Brown will be Jerome "Big Foot" Brailey and Billy "Bass" Nelson, both members of Parliament Funkadelic and 1997 Rock and Roll Hall inductees. The film will be shown from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. and the discussion will run from 7:30 until 8:30 p.m.

This year more than 150 films were submitted to the festival for consideration, and 36 documentaries from 27 countries were selected to be shown at the various cities involved in the festival. After the opening weekend in St. Louis, the festival will travel to different venues in the US and around the world, including Philadelphia, Ghana, Barbados, Trinidad & Tobago, Jamaica, South Africa and the United Kingdom. The subjects of these works include art, business, crime and violence, culture, education, gender, history, human trafficking, immigration, identity, music and dance, traditional religion, personal biographies, politics, poverty, race, society, sport, as well as women’s issues.

For a complete list of the films that will be showing, please check the festival website at www.africaworldfilmfestival.com or visit the event's Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/events/207817252901620/. For additional information please contact the festival director, Dr. Niyi Coker, or the festival Coordinator, Mr. Ephrem Andemariam, at  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Here's the complete schedule for this year's Africa World Documentary Film Festival

Friday, February 5, 2016

 10:30 AM – 12:00 PM

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 The March and Freedom 1963 - Davon Johnson (10m, USA)

Nonviolent civil disobedience based on Christian beliefs started long before the peaceful protest, March for Freedom on Washington, D.C. A. Philip Randolph, Bayard Rustin and A.J. Muste formed the idea of a peaceful movement including a march on Washington in the early 1940’s.They successfully pressured sequential Presidents to issue executive orders that advanced the civil right cause greatly and forestalled the March. Their call to action passed to a next generation. In the 60’s,ordinary brave Americans followed the very strong leadership of MLK Jr. and others to make the March for Freedom a reality. This movement changed the nation forever; yet work remains as the torch of freedom and equality passes to our newest generation–our children.

The Conversation Doc Series

Blair Foster, Michele Stephenson, Geeta Gandbhir, Perri Peltz, Joe Brewster (28m, USA)

  • A Conversation With My Black Son (5m)
  • A Conversation About Growing Up Black (5m)
  • A Conversation With White People on Race(5m)
  • A Conversation With Police on Race (7m)
  • A Conversation With Black Women on Race (6m)

“The Conversation Doc Series” are short Op-Doc video series on race in America. Broadly speaking, each video feature frank and open revelations on the incendiary topic. These short Op-Docs are the New York Times editorial department’s award-winning section for short, opinionated documentaries (op-docs), covering current affairs, contemporary life and historical subjects produced by both renowned and emerging filmmakers.

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China Remix - Melissa Lefkowitz, Dorian Carli-Jones (29m, China, USA)

The city of Guangzhou is home to China's largest community of African immigrants. This short documentary explores the city’s burgeoning African entertainment industry through the lives of three African hip-hop artists who are trying to find success in the face of China’s challenging labor and immigration laws. The film follows the entertainers as they prepare for their shows, perform, and live their daily lives with their Chinese and African family members and friends despite facing prejudice and the risk of deportation.

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Ror - Natalie Cunningham (14m, South Sudan, Australia)

A short documentary about the story of a young poet following his hip-hop dream. Ror Akot, a sixteen year old former South Sudanese refugee is a making his mark on the Australian hip-hop scene. In this short documentary, Ror discusses his love of music and his determination to succeed. An inspiring portrait of a young rapper trying to find his way.

12:00 PM - 1:00 PM - Discussion

6:00 PM – 8:15 PM

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Nascent - Jonathan Kasbe, Lindsay Branham (6m, Central African Republic, USA)

A short documentary about two children on the opposing sides of Central African Republic’s sectarian civil war. Bintou, a Muslim girl, and Gaus, a Christian boy, are on opposing sides of the sectarian civil war in Central African Republic. With escalating personal, tit-for-tat revenge violence, both Bintou and Gaus must discover who they are. The film is about how social identities are constructed and deconstructed through the circle of interactions with others and the self and how social identity influences why war is waged. Nascent explores the dichotomies of otherness and distills the conversation through the clarifying stories of two children and their individual yet unifying desire to move forward..

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Mully - Scott Haze (121m, Kenya)

  1. Mully is no ordinary rags-to-richesIt’s the true story of Charles Mully, whose unlikely stratospheric rise to wealth and power leaves him questioning his own existence, searching for meaning in life. Against the better judgment of family and community, Mully sets out to enrich the fate of orphaned children across Kenya. Jeopardizing his own life and the security of his family, Charles Mully risks everything and sets in motion a series of events that is nothing short of astonishing.

 Saturday, February 6, 2016

 1:00 PM – 3:15 PM

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The Caged Bird: The Life and Music of Florence B. Price  - James Greeson (57m, USA)

A documentary film about the life and music of Florence B. Price. Price (1887-1953) was the first African-American woman whose music was performed by major symphonic orchestras back in 1933 when one of her compositions was performed by the Chicago Symphony. She also collaborated with poet Langston Hughes and wrote over 50 songs that were sung by the great Marian Anderson. The documentary tells her life story with many recently discovered photos and also presents many fine performances of her music to underscore her accomplishments. The poet Paul Laurence Dunbar used the metaphor of a “caged bird” for the oppression of black Americans. This is the story of a woman who refused to accept the limited aspirations that were expected of her race and gender, who would not be a “caged bird.”

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Althea - Rex Miller (77m, USA)

Althea Gibson, a truant from the rough streets of Harlem, emerged as a most unlikely queen of the highly segregated tennis world of 1950. Althea's life and achievements transcend sports. Her roots as a sharecropper's daughter, her family's migration north to Harlem in 1930, mentoring from Sugar Ray Robinson and others and her unwillingness to participate in the early civil rights movement, all bring her story into a much broader realm of Black History. Late in life, forgotten by the tennis establishment and barely able to make ends meet, she became reclusive, enveloped by bitterness. But, as the film explores, much of her failure to find financial success exposed a tragic flaw, as she was bull-headed and unwilling to listen to others.

3:15 PM – 3:45 PM - Discussion

4:00 PM – 5:30 PM

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Fatherland - Tarryn Crossman (71m, South Africa)

Fatherland is a coming-of-age documentary set in the remote South African Bush. It follows a group of Afrikaans boys over 9 days at a military-style camp in the spirit of their fathers before them. However, what starts out as basic military training, fitness and camaraderie soon intensifies as the true nature of the camp is revealed and the boys are forced to question their place in the 'New South Africa.’fitness and camaraderie soon intensifies as the true nature of the camp is revealed and the boys are forced to question their place in the 'New South Africa'. fitness and camaraderie soon intensifies as the true nature of the camp is revealed and the boys are forced to question their place in the 'New South Africa'.

Killings by Police Ferguson

Ferguson Documented: In 36 Hours - Carla Usher (15m, USA)

On August 5, 2014, Michael Brown an 18 year-old black teenager was killed by a white police officer in the town of Ferguson, Missouri. What appeared to be yet another police involved shooting of an unarmed black man proved to be something more. The outrage over the killing of Michael Brown served to mobilize not only residents of Ferguson’s black community, but the incident sparked massive protests and public demonstrations in both large and small communities across the country. The events of Ferguson forced white, middle class America to confront issue of racism and policing in communities of color. The documentary explores these issues through a diverse collection of voices sharing their experiences

5:30 PM - 6:00 PM - Discussion

 6:30 PM – 7:30 PM

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“Tear the Roof Off:” The Untold Story of Parliament Funkadelic - Bobby J. Brown (57m, USA)

The untold true story: The rise and fall of one of the greatest funk band ever, Parliament Funkadelic. The film explores the group from its origin in the late 1950s in Plainfield, New Jersey as the Parliaments to its fall. By the early 1970s the groups Parliament and Funkadelic were operating concurrently and consisted of the same stable of musicians playing different types of funk music for two different labels. The name "Parliament-Funkadelic" became the catch-all term for the multiple bands. By the late 1970s the collective had grown to include dozens of musicians recording and touring under many different group names and solo projects. Overall, the collective achieved thirteen top ten hits in the American R&B music charts between 1967 and 1983, including six number one hits. Parliament-Funkadelic with their funk sound and socially conscious lyrics has been especially influential for later R&B, hip hop, and rock music.

7:30 PM – 8:30 PM

 Discussion and Q & A with Bobby J. Brown, director of the film as well as Jerome "Big Foot" Brailey and Billy "Bass" Nelson, both members of Parliament Funkadelic and 1997 Rock and Roll Hall inductees.  

Sunday, February 7, 2016

1:00 PM – 3:30 PM

 The Conversation Doc Series

Blair Foster, Michele Stephenson, Geeta Gandbhir, Perri Peltz, Joe Brewster (28m, USA)

  • A Conversation With My Black Son (5m)
  • A Conversation About Growing Up Black (5m)
  • A Conversation With White People on Race(5m)
  • A Conversation With Police on Race (7m)
  • A Conversation With Black Women on Race (6m)

“The Conversation Doc Series” are short Op-Doc video series on race in America. Broadly speaking, each video feature frank and open revelations on the incendiary topic. These short Op-Docs are the New York Times editorial department’s award-winning section for short, opinionated documentaries (op-docs), covering current affairs, contemporary life and historical subjects produced by both renowned and emerging filmmakers.

 amixG

Am I: Too African to be American or Too American to be African - Nadia Sasso (44m, USA, Sierra Leone)

A documentary film that explores the complex identity formations of young African women living in America and West Africa who identify bi-culturally. It is a multimedia intervention with a discussion on politics of identity with respect to immigrant populations and movements back and forth of the diaspora. The film explores 7 women’s histories with their bi-cultural identity, and looks into how these women wrestle with concepts of race, complexion, gender, and heritage among other issues.

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Obama Mama - Vivian Norris (82m, USA)

Stanley Ann Dunham was more than the mother of the first black President of the United States of America. As an anthropologist with a PhD and as a lifelong globetrotter, her intelligence, progressive politics, and activism made for a profound life - one whose inspiration continues to resonate through her son, President Barack Obama. Through interviews with high school friends and colleagues, film clips, and archival footage, the documentary explores Dunham’s travels from small-town Kansas to Seattle, Hawaii, and Indonesia as well as her work in the Civil Rights and Feminist Movements. The film explores her dedication to raising awareness of global poverty and her development of microcredit programs to address poverty in rural villages. Dunham is indirectly responsible for some of the greatest contributions to American and global history, especially Obama’s revolutionary health care bill. The “largeness of her heart,” as her son describes it, is the centerpiece of this inspiring documentary.

3:30 PM - 4:00 PM - Discussion

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