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23 Dec. 2013

AFRICAN FILM FESTIVAL 2014


BekoloBako_Fuelling-Poverty_kg_001ANNOUNCEMENT:

 Saturday, January 25th through Wednesday, February 26th 

LOCATION: UC BERKELEY ART MUSEUM & PACIFIC FILM ARCHIVE, Pacific Film Archive Theater, 2575 Bancroft Way, Berkeley
For more information call 510-642-1124, For tickets call 510-642-5249
http://bampfa.berkeley.edu
facebook.com/bampfa
General admission: $9.50 for one program, $13.50 for double bills.
BAM/PFA members, children; UC Berkeley students, faculty, and staff: $5.50/$9.50.
Other students, young people (13-17), seniors, and disabled persons $6.50/$10.50

The African Film Festival National Traveling Series is organized by the African Film Festival, Inc. This touring series has been made possible by the generous support of the National Endowments for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts, Lambent Foundation, and The Bradley Family Foundation. Special thanks to Mahen Bonetti, director, and Aminata Diop, program coordinator, for their assistance and support. The festival at BAM/PFA includes additional titles. It is co-presented by the Department of African American Studies and the Center for African Studies at UC Berkeley. Prints provided by the African Film Festival National Traveling Series, unless indicated otherwise.

Saturday / 1.25.14
8:30 Mother of George
Andrew Dosunmu (U.S., 2012)


Mother of George, which the Village Voice calls emblematic of a “new renaissance moment for American black cinema,” is set against the backdrop of Brooklyn’s colorful Yoruba Nigerian community. A joyful wedding celebration (filmed with an attention to color and costume on par with a Bollywood film) unites Ayodele (Jim Jarmusch favorite Isaach De Bankolé) and Adenike (Danai Gurira, The Walking Dead), but divisions begin to appear when the couple is unable to conceive a child. Nigerian-born Dosunmu (Restless City) creates one of the most surprising, successful American indies of the year, a portrait of a vibrant community split between worlds old and new.—Jason Sanders

Written by Darci Picoult, photographed by Bradley Young with Isaach De Bankolé, Danai Gurira, Yaya Alifia, Anthony Okungbowa. (106 mins, Color, DCP, From Oscilloscope Pictures)

Tuesday / 1.28.14
7:00 Le Président
Jean-Pierre Bekolo (Cameroon/Germany, 2013)


Cameroonian filmmaker Jean-Pierre Bekolo (Quartier Mozart, Les saignantes) is one of the most intriguing directors in Africa, unafraid to challenge either political or conceptual boundaries. His newest work uses split-screens (at times up to four images simultaneously) to present a fake documentary in which “the president” has disappeared; talk-show hosts, rivals, politicians, and even rappers chime in on what may have occurred, and what the president has (or has not) done for their country of Cameroon. “We shouldn’t just be making movies, we should be changing reality,” charges Bekolo; this formally inventive, angry, and at times humorous work begins the process.—Jason Sanders

Written by Simon Njami, photographed by Didier Mercier, Dieudonné Mballa Mballa, Bertrand Ngah, Ruth Essangui with Gérard Essomba, Valery Ndongo, Valsero, Max Essouma. (63 mins, In French with English subtitles, Color, Digital video, From Seagull Films)

Preceded by Fuelling Poverty (Ishaya Bako, Nigeria, 2012). Music by Femi Kuti and Asa flavors this investigative documentary on one of the most stunning frauds in history, in which roughly seven billion dollars were taken from the Nigerian people through the misappropriation of oil subsidy funds. (30 mins, In English, Pidgin, Yoruba, and Hausa with English subtitles, Color, Beta SP)

Total running time: 93 mins

Thursday / 1.30.14
7:00 Burn It Up Djassa
Lonesome Solo, a.k.a. Souleymane Bamba (Ivory Coast, 2012)


(Le Djassa a pris feu). Cinema vérité hits the ghetto in this noir and hip-hop–fuelled snapshot of the Abidjan streets, directed by first-time filmmaker “Lonesome Solo,” a.k.a. Souleymane Bamba. A young street tough sells cigarettes in the nightlife district, but the lure of easier money soon drags him towards a more vibrant—and dangerous—thug life. Shot in eleven days and created collectively by its actors (many of whose lives are similar to their characters’), flavored by its raw combination of slam poetry and dance, Burn It
Up Djassa merges the street-level, DIY aesthetics and energy of contemporary Nollywood with the particular realities of the Ivory Coast.—Jason Sanders

Written by Delphine Jaquet, Ange Ali Sanogo, Solo, Yacouba Soumahoro, photographed by Jaquet with Abdoul Karim Konaté, Mohamed Bamba, Mamadou Diomand., Adela.de Ouattara. (70 mins, In French and Nouchi with English subtitles, Color, Beta SP)

Sunday / 2.2.14
3:00 Zarafa
Rémi Bezançon, Jean-Christophe Lie (France/Belgium, 2012)


Recommended for ages 7 & up

A pure wonder!—FigaroScope

The supervising animator behind The Triplets of Belleville, Jean-Christophe Lie, teams with writer/director Rémi Bezançon for this family-friendly animated tale that moves from Africa to Europe, following a ten-year-old boy and his best friend, the first giraffe to ever set foot in France. The young Sudanese boy Maki and his giraffe buddy have the adventure of a lifetime as they encounter dangers in the form of Bedouin princes, slave traders, and even French kings on their voyage. A fabulously old-school alternative to your typically overloud and overdone Hollywood animations, Zarafa is “a colorfully compelling kids flick” (Hollywood Reporter).—Jason Sanders

Written by Alexander Abela, Bezançon with Max Renaudin Pratt, Simon Abkarian, Ronit Elkabetz, Vernon Dobtcheff, Mohamed Fellag. (78 mins, In French with English subtitles, Color, DCP, From GKIDS)

Tuesday / 2.4.14
7:00 Fidaï
Damien Ounouri (France/Algeria/China/Germany/Kuwait, 2012)


Jia Zhang-ke’s Xstream Pictures served as coproducer of this elegiac portrait of a seemingly ordinary grandfather, who in reality was a freedom fighter during the Algerian War of Independence against France. Interspersing archival footage, reenactments, and interviews, director Damien Ounouri showcases how the past lives within the present: children play in their grandfather El Hadi’s yard, while El Hadi recalls the atrocities of the past, and his own fight against colonialism. “A lovely, elegant and stirring look at one man’s memories of being a fighter for Algeria’s liberation from French colonialism,” wrote Variety, “Fidaï marks a striking advance in Arabic documentary filmmaking.”—Jason Sanders

Written by Linda Amiri, Ounouri, photographed by Matthieu Laclau. (83 mins, In French and Arabic with English subtitles, Color, DCP, From Kafard Films)

Wednesday / 2.5.14
7:00 Tey
Alain Gomis (Senegal, 2012)


Spiritual, soulful and captivating.—Hollywood Reporter

(Aujourd’hui/Today). American musician/slam poet Saul Williams stars in this dreamlike fable of one man’s final hours, as prescribed by fate. Awaking alone, Satché (Williams) leaves his room to discover most of his family, friends, and neighborhood elders gathered outside, all echoing a strange message: you have been chosen to die, and today is your last day on earth. Stunned and uncertain, he spends his time walking the streets, meeting friends and lovers, passing by riots and other ceremonies, counting down the hours. “A metaphysical film, of rare sensorial power” (Le monde), Tey is part Senegalese fairy tale, part existential Sartre play.—Jason Sanders

Written by Gomis, Djolof Mbengue, photographed by Crystel Fournier with Saul Williams, Djolof Mbengue, Aïssa Maïga, Anisia Uzeyman. (89 mins, In French, Wolof, and Mandinka with English subtitles, Color, DCP, From BelleMoon Productions)

Wednesday / 2.12.14
7:00 Between Cultures: Recent African Shorts


Three award-winning portraits of African life, both on the continent and in the U.S. In Frances Bodomo’s Boneshaker, a family, lost in America, travels to a Louisiana church to find a cure for their troubled child. It stars Oscar nominee Quvenzhané Wallis (Beasts of the Southern Wild). Akosua Adoma Owusu’s spellbinding Kwaku Ananse brings to life a traditional Ghanian folktale, combining the contemporary with the mythological. Bentley Brown’s Faisal Goes West follows a Sudanese family to the U.S., where young son Faisal puts the family in a bind, triggering them to re-examine their American dream.

Boneshaker
Frances Bodomo, Ghana/U.S., 2013, 13 mins, Color, Digital video file

Kwaku Ananse
Akosua Adoma Owusu, Ghana, 2012, 25 mins, Color, DCP, From Piano

Faisal Goes West
Bentley Brown, U.S./Sudan, 34 mins, Color, Digital video file

Total running time: 72 mins

Wednesday / 2.26.14
7:00 Nairobi Half Life
David Tosh Gitonga (Kenya, 2012)


Kenya’s first-ever Oscar submission for Best Foreign Language Film, David Tosh Gitonga’s high-energy look at Nairobi street culture was created under the auspices of Tom Twyker’s (Run Lola Run) production company. An aspiring young actor from the Kenyan backwaters heads to Nairobi to make it big, but soon discovers why the city is nicknamed “Nairobbery.” A friendship with a gang leader may ruin his dreams of acting; then again, it may just improve them. Economically yet dynamically shot, with surprising humor, Nairobi Half Life is “an affecting, funny narrative, bringing us into the layered, tumultuous life of people” (Variety).—Jason Sanders

Written by Billy Kahora, Potash Charles Matathia, Samuel Munene, Serah Mwihaki; photographed by Christian Almesberger with Joseph Wairimu, Olwenya Maina, Nancy Wanjiku Karanja, Mugambi Nthiga. (96 mins, In Swahili, Kukiyu, and English with English subtitles, Color, DigiBeta)

 

About the author

Sandra Varner has had her hands on the pulse of the entertainment industry and lifestyles coverage for decades, staying current, always.

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