The 2007 African World Documentary Films
"A Little Bit of Love"The Making of a Message
Scott Hatfield (USA, Uganda) - 20min
The Ugandan medical world mixes with the hip Ugandan music world to create an HIV/AIDS awareness song to lessen the scourge in Africa and raise awareness about the growing menace of AIDS. The musicians get the word out with the help of an upbeat and danceable rhythm in both Luganda and English languages. The artists also talk about what the project has meant to them and how AIDS has affected their country and families.
A Walk to Beautiful
Mary Olive Smith (Ethiopia, USA) - 84min
The story of five Ethiopian women who've suffered from a horrendous childbirth injury called obstetric fistula. The filmmakerss follow them on their journey to a special hospital in Addis Ababa, where they find solace for the first time in years, and stay with them as their lives are transformed.
Africa: War is Business
Frank Vellenga (DR Congo, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Netherlands) - 52min
A documentary that uncovers the system of moneymaking based on warfare in many parts of Africa. It reveals the nature of a system that doesnt stop at national borders, with UN resolutions or apparent peace. HRH Prince Jaime de Bourbon Parme, specialist in conflict prevention, travels through Sierra Leone, Liberia and Congo. He is looking for the source of wars in Africa. He asks the question of how it is possible that these countries, so rich in natural resources are still under the terror of poverty. He analyses the role of the natural richness with these conflict.
Valdas Kotovas (Guinea, USA) - 29min
Women drumming group 'Amazones' visit Montreal in summer 2006. With their performance and workshops they introduce the Canadians to African music and dance.
As Old As My Tongue
Andy Jones (Tanzania, United Kingdom) - 66min
Rebel, Singer, Drummer, Womens leader; Bi Kidude is a living legend on her home island of Zanzibar and has beguiled audiences around the world on her wide and varied travels. Bi Kidude challenges our perception of age, of stardom, and of women in a Muslim society. Shes been breaking the rules since she ran away from Koran school to the Stone town docks at the age of ten. The film reveals a life of dramatic contrasts and features a classic soundtrack comprising 100 years of Swahili music.
Ayen's Cooking School for African Men
Sieh Mchawala (Sudan, Austrailia) - 52min
In Sudan it is taboo for a man to cook. As young Sudanese refugee, Alier puts it very plainly, cooking, cleaning, washing the dishes, its the duty of your sister. What happens when a Sudanese woman starts a cooking school for the refugee men in Australia and asks them to prepare a feast for their biggest critics the elder women?
Jesse Block (USA) - 70min
The story of three Philadelphia brothers in jass: Percy, Jimmy and Albert "Tootie" Heath. They have played or recorded with every great jazz musician from the 1950's to present. They have survived drugs, jail and discrimination to thrive as jazz musicians and educators.
Rehad Desai (South Africa) - 65min
When the filmmaker travels to the Kalahari to investigate global interest in ancient Bushmen knowledge, he meets a fascinating Khomani San traditional healer, whose struggle to live close to nature is hampered by centuries of colonial exploitation of the San Bushmen and of their land. One plant could make all the difference. Hoodia, a cactus used by Bushmen for centuries, has caught the attention of a giant pharmaceutical company. The film features breathtaking footage of the Kalahari landscape, and exposes us to a world where modernity collides with ancient ways, at a time when each has, strangely, come to rely on the other.
Frederique Zepter (Brazil) - 43min
Through interviews of the largest percussionists of Rio de Janeiro, the director proposes in this film an initiation at the liturgical origin of the Brazilian rates/rhythms: candombl. Religion of the black populations of Brazil, which associates each god a different rate/rhythm, candombl anchors the Brazilian music in an African tradition of crowned.
Nick Guroff, Tonantzin De Aztlan (Libya, USA) - 25min
The story of a group of Black Muslims, American Indians, and Chicano radicals who, in the mid-1980s, met each other, then met again in Muammar Qaddafis Libya. They went to a series of meetings with one of Americas principal enemies, intending to meet a revolutionary and find common cause. What actually happened in those meetings, and the pandemonium that ensued, landed some participants in prison and helped catapult tensions between the U.S. and Libya to an all-time high.
Counting Headz: South Afrikas Sistaz in Hip Hop
Erin Offer, Vusi Magubane (South Africa) - 50min
This ground-breaking documentary reveals the struggles and victories of South Africa's women from the perspectives of three major actors in South Africas hip hop scene. Counting Headz is many things: collaboration, a labor of love, a celebration. But most importantly, it voices these womens stories that often go unheard.
David Mu (Niger, Spain) - 30min
Norway appears as one of the most developed countries on the planet, while Niger again takes last place on this prestigious list. This documentary arose from the intention of getting to know the people who live in these countries. But it reveals that peoples happiness is not necessarily tied to the concept of development as we usually understand it.
Filmon Mebrahtu (Sudan, USA) - 56min
The story of some of Americas most recent arrivals: Sudanese refugees who would have never dreamt a few years ago that theyd be living in America. Over the course of ten months, the filmmakers follow the lives of three Sudanese refugees who resettle in the Philadelphia area and adjust to the new American culture and way of life.
Elephant People: An African Secret Society and Globalization
Lyombe Eko (Cameroon) - 27min
The filmmaker made a pilgrimage into the inner core of the Bakweir "Mahle" secret society in Cameroon, which he describes as "the most enduring aspect of the Whakpe culture" which survived 125 years of colonial and missionary effort to stamp it out. The film focuses on role of the secret society as a symbol of how the Bakweri strive a balance between their culture, religion (Christianity) and the influence of modernity.
Xanthe Hamilton (Swaziland, United Kingdom) - 10min
A fly on the wall documentary depicting a day in the life of a family of four orphans living alone in the Northern Swaziland Mountains. This is a humbling story about a struggling, yet content family unit. With 50 percent of the adult population in Swaziland already infected with HIV/AIDS, this is the reality for a rapidly growing population of un-parented children.
Hip Hop Nation
Christina Choe (Senegal) - 10min
A short documentary film about Hip Hop and globalization in Senegal, West Africa. MCs rap about African debt dependency, Islam, unemployment and poverty while startling footage of Tupac murals, mosques, and barefooted b-boys is set to a powerful soundtrack of hip hop protest songs.
I Love Hip Hop in Morocco
Jennifer Needleman, Josh Asen (Morocco, USA) - 80min
A determined group of Moroccan Hip Hop hopefuls band together to create their country's first Hip Hop festival, a celebration of music, unity and free-speech. This film reflects the thoughts and dreams of the true future of the Arab world. These are not the images portrayed by the media; these are the real people. And their views on America, Islam, and the world in general.
Illuminations, Vol I: Outside Looking In
Sara Brissenden-Smith (USA) - 30min
A documentary series about the lives of Black women (from the US, Caribbean and South America), living in the San Francisco Bay Area. In Volume I of the series, 'Outside Looking In', the legacy of skin color, politics of hair and body image and standards of beauty are explored.
Robbie Leppzer (USA) - 9min
A chronicle of a unique spiritual and cultural pilgrimage to Senegal by Irma Gardner-Hamond, an African American Storyteller, who makes an emotional re-connection with African roots.
Journey to Mangochi
Roberto Bentivegna, Christopher De La Torre (Malawi, USA) - 34min
In a country devastated by AIDS, three young filmmakers embark on a journey that will shock, surprise and captivate them. At a time in which the disease has reached its peak, could it be that an influential Chief in one of the countrys worst affected areas believes that AIDS does not exist?
Living with Slim: Kids Talk about HIV/AIDS
Sam Kauffmann (Uganda, USA) - 29min
In many African countries, HIV/AIDS is called Slim. In this emotionally powerful film, seven African children, ranging in age from 6 to 17 years old, talk about what its like to be HIV positive. They discuss their lives, how they are treated, how they live with the illness and what their hopes are for the future.
Bent-Jorgen Perlmutt, Nelson Walker III, Louis Abelman, Lynn True (USA, Congo) - 72min
A portrait of a young Congolese rape survivor awaiting treatment at a hospital. As she embarks upon the uncertain road to regaining her health and dignity, she questions her beliefs about God, women's roles in society, childbearing, and the violence that is tearing her country apart.
Maasai: A Warrior's Rite of Passage
Brad Minnich (n/a) - 40min
A three day ceremony where over 300 Maasai Warriors, gather together to slaughter over 100 animals and drink sacrificial bull's blood to graduate into Elder-hood. The film will take you inside one of the last indigenous tribes still practicing ancient rituals before they are lost forever.
Memoirs of a Smoker
Hezekiah Lewis (USA) - 15min
A short, but powerful insight into the life of Deantre Conner, a drug addict who makes a seemingly conscious decision to live life on the streets of skid-row in Downtown Los Angeles. Through his poetry, Deantres astounding confessions and acknowledgement of the reality of his addiction, give the audience a sense of his underlying brilliance
Memories of Rain
Gisela Albrecht, Angela Mai (South Africa, Germany) - 107min
Two South Africans, Jenny from the white world, Kevin from the black, took part in the struggle against Apartheid. Lives spent in exile, leading Kevin through ANC military camps in Angola and Jenny through training in former GDR in East Berlin. Lives working underground in South Africa, in danger and loneliness but inspired by the vision of a free society.
Jim Hanon (USA) - 77min
Narrated by the Emmy nominated TV personality and Grammy nominated singer: Della Reese Miss HIV unearths the international conflict of HIV/AIDS policies while following the journey of a simple HIV-positive woman who enters the Miss HIV Stigma-Free beauty contest. Her story brings simple context to the bigger question: why are we losing the war on a preventable disease?
Movement (R)evolution Africa
Joan Frosch, Alla Kovgan (USA) - 65min
In an astonishing exposition of choreographic creations, nine African choreographers tell stories of an emergent art form of contemporary African dance. Stunning choreography and riveting critiques challenge stale stereotypes of 'traditional Africa' to unveil soul-shaking responses to the beauty and tragedy of 21st century Africa.
Mr Dial Has Something to Say
Celia Carey (USA) - 60min
Southern African-American visual art is the lesser-known 'sibling' of jazz and the blues. Like the music, this improvisational form has influenced many now-famous white American artists. But unlinke the musicians, the visual artists have not received recognition for their historical impact on American culture. Why? This film explores the topic of racism and classism in the elite world of the American art museums, schools and galleries, focusing on the experiences of Thornton Dial--79-year-old 'self-taught' artist from Alabama.
My image still complete
Alfonso Par (Sierra Leone, Spain) - 57min
A human story about how sport and friendship can overcome the hardest of situations. Three young boys who were victims of the massive amputations due to the civil war in Sierra Leone, and were destined to be alone, handicapped and beggars in the streets of Freetown. But one-day football came across their life. When they started to play, they understood they were not victims anymore: they were determined to become heroes.
Richard Dailey (Cameroon, France) - 28min
Barthelemy Toguo is an internationally renowned artist who lives and works in Paris, France, and in Bandjoun, Cameroon. His is creating an art institute, Bandjoun Station, on family land in his ancestral village in Western Cameroon. Bandjoun Station is an artistically ambitious and politically audacious project that the artist has funded himself. On a high plateau in equatorial Cameroon, art history meets ancestor worship.
Not with my Daughter
Valentin Thurn (Germany) - 40min
Migration brought female genital circumcision from Africa to Europe and worldwide. But more and more women have decided: Dont touch my daughter! Three women from Germany, England and France speak about the day they were circumcised, about problems with urinating, about pain during menstruation and their fears of sexual intercourse and giving birth.
Del Walters (USA) - 72min
The real story of the collapse of Africa. The film traces the roots of the CIA in Africa and how racism and American ignorance fueled foreign policy. To make their case the film makers use never before heard audio tapes, films and newly declassified textual records from the National Archives that truly revealed the real reason as to why the brightest lights on the African continent are dark
One Family: An Ethiopian Adoption
Jim Ritvo (Ethiopia, USA) - 35min
This documentary highlights an American family's adoption of a ten year old Ethiopian orphan named Meskerem. The film chronicles their journey to Addis Ababa to meet her for the first time, the heartfelt goodbyes to her extended family and friends at the orphanage, and the adjustment to changes in their lives back home.
Leonard Abrams (Brazil, USA) - 73min
Narrated by Chuck D (legendary poet, media commentator and leader of the iconic hip hop band Public Enemy) Quilombo from an Angolan word that means "encampment", the film deals with rural communities in Brazil that were either founded by runaway slaves or begun from abandoned plantations. Largely unknown to the outside world, today these communities struggle to preserve a rich heritage born of resistance to oppression, raising issues of political identity, land rights, and racial and socioeconomic discriminations.
Raadis: in search of...
Emmanuel Mutsune (Canada, Kenya) - 48min
This documentary explores the criminalization of Somali identity in Kenya and how this has affected the legal and civil rights of Kenyan citizens of Somali extraction and how this in turn has affected identity formation amongst Kenyan Somalis.
Rain in a Dry Land Anne Makepeace
n/a (Somalia, USA) - 82min
A riveting portrait of families in transition. After thirteen years in refugee camps, two Somali Bantu families arrive in twenty-first century America, a world as strange to them as the moon. Their poetry, humor, and amazing resilience show us our own world through new eyes.
Jennifer John Block (USA) - 57min
A burned out plantation home is restored while the memoir of its former mistress reveals a world of slavery and society balls, of race-mixing and family bonds, of cruelty, love and joie de vivre.
Revolution '67 (USA) - 90min
The American struggle with race, inequality, idealism, and power in the 1960s is explored through the story of the riots that erupted in Newark, New Jersey, in 1967. The untold story of what really happened during the Newark riots is told in archival footage, bold animation, and from the mouths of the people who lived it. The film's coda measures the vital signs of Newark today.
Oliva Acosta (Cuba, Spain) - 84min
The story of a Cuban, black woman who was born in 1902: Maria de los Reyes, Reyita. Her story would have gone unnoticed, even by her own family, if her youngest daughter had not written a book about it. A story of slavery, discrimination and struggle at a time when being a woman meant invisibility and fighting for survival.
Sanpachando: St. Pacho is for the Revelers
Daniel Mosquera, Sean Ferry (Colombia) - 73min
The film examines the construction of identity among Afro-Colombians and on afro-descendents culture and history as manifested in the feast of St. Francis of Assisi, locally known as San Pacho.
Marta Neilson (Canada) - 46min
The film follows the crusade of Ian Brewster, a black youth worker in Toronto in search of reasons why the citys black community is on the verge of a crisis involving violence and criminality. Ian works with young offenders in the heart of Torontos most dangerous neighborhoods where violence begets a code of silence and where police officers are seen as the enemy. The film is about Ians quest for the dignity, optimism and pride he feels his culture has lost and how the black community can reclaim the dignity that the civil rights movement once gave them.
Sisters of No Mercy
Lukas Roegler (Nigeria, Germany, USA) - 90min
A shocking inside view of the African human trafficking and forced prostitution business. Told through the eyes of Faith, Linda, Betty and Queen, the film deals with the widely neglected fate of 50,000 Nigerian girls whose dream of a better future turned into a prostitution nightmare on the streets of Europe.
Sisters of Selma: Bearing Witness to Change
Jayasri Hart (USA) - 57min
An unabashedly spiritual look at Dr. Martin Luther King's 1965 campaign for African American Voting Rights from some of its unsung foot soldiers--Catholic nuns. Newsreel footage, unearthed for this PBS documentary, has been skilfully edited into a perfect case study of civil disobedience. The film features sisters from 5 orders, some who were missioned in the 'Negro' parish in Selma, and others who went from the Midwest to march.
Suffering and Smiling
Dan Ollman (Nigeria) - 60min
The film focuses on African musician Femi Kuti, the son of highly politicized singer Fela Anikulapo Kuti, and his decades long struggle against the corruption of the Nigerian Government. Femi travels the length and breadth of the country - and further afield - trying to instill a sense of national pride in the people of Nigeria.
Pierre Klochendler (Tanzania) - 52min
Daddy Maisha ('Maisha' for Life in Kiswahili) is a young Congolese musician stranded in Dar es Salaam's biggest squatter camp, Manzese, a forbidding place known locally as 'The Hyena's Den'. The squalid squatter camp has the raw grey face of salvaged scrap where nothing is lost, nothing created, dangerous. The filmmakers follow the fortunes of Daddy Maisha, a songster on a tin-roof of the urban slums of modern Africa, a repository of the culture of the dispossessed, a coryphaeus of those who own nothing, who envy those who have almost nothing.
Taking Guns from Boys
Jessie Deeter (Liberia, USA) - 57min
Documentary about a tiny West African nation ripped apart by a brutal civil war and the man who has come to establish peace there. United Nations Force Commander Daniel Opande has one year to deploy 15,000 multinational troops throughout Liberia, secure the countrys borders, make Liberia safe for civilians, and disarm 40,000 fighters from three warring factions who are not yet ready to stop fighting.
Testing Hope: Grade 12 in the New South Africa
Molly Blank (South Africa) - 40min
The film tells the story of students in Nyanga Township, who started school the year that Mandela was elected president, as they prepare for their crucial Matric exams which one student calls, the decider. The film considers whats at stake if students pass or fail and how they envision their future in this evolving democracy.
The Al-Hadji and His Wives
Jie Li (Cameroon, USA) - 52min
A portrait of a Fulani patriarch, his savvy wives, and their rebellious daughters, this documentary provides a glimpse into their everyday lives, religious and moral practices, as well as their idiosyncratic political opinions and worldview. With a critical but sympathetic gaze, it also chronicles the process and rationale by which Amina, a 16-year-old daughter of the family, is forced into an unwanted marriage.
The Imam and the Pastor
Alan Channe (Nigeria, United Kingdom) - 39min
The unlikely partnership between a Muslim fundamentalist preacher and a Christian evangelist from Nigeria. The film traces their journey from killing and vengeance to healing and friendship. It explores how, together, they have brought peace to their communities.
The Power of Art/Women's Voice in Africa
Claudine Pommier (Canada) - 52min
The film shows how contemporary women who choose to be professional artists claim their position, deal with stereotypes associated with being AFrican (when seen from outside the continent) and stereotypes associated with being a women (when seen from within the continent). The film will also focus on the role women professional artists may play to address the numerous challenges facing the continent.
Liberia, USA (Jason Price) - 25min
In a meager, one-bedroom apartment on the outskirts of New York City lives a quiet, old man who was once President of an African country. Former law professor and Supreme Court justice David D. Kpormakpor served as Interim President of Liberia between 1994 & 95, during its disastrous civil war. An unforgettable, lyrical portrait of a decent man, 'The Professor' ultimately reflects upon the nature of honor and character in an unjust world.
The Return of the Obelisk
Samson Giorgis (n/a) - 64min
Almost 70 years after the Italian invasion of Ethiopia, The Axum Obelisk - A stele 23 meters high and one of the most important historial monument of Ethipoia - finally returned to its home country in April 2005. The film focuses on the incredible history of this monument, which is considered as a world heritage by UNESCO since 1980, and the struggle for the handover of this priceless piece of art.
The Sacred Truth: The Blue Hole of Dahab
Elena Konstantinou (Egypt, USA) - 90min
Egypts Blue Hole is one of the worlds most beautiful, but dangerous dive sites. Thousands dive its magnificent underwater archway to experience its cathedral-like mysticism. Many divers dont return. The Film investigates why so many scuba divers have perished in the mysterious Blue Hole of Dahab. Are the reasons behind these unexplained fatalities, drawing upon scientific rationalizations and mystical accounts inspired by ancient Egyptian wisdom or something beyond our comprehension?
The Story of Habtab
Federico Triulzi (Italy, Eritrea) - 30min
The film narrates about an Eritrean Immigrant who died under police custody in Italy in 2006. The film Makers captured the plight of immigrants from the Horn of Africa whose quest for survival and dignity have takes them on a difficult journey from their native land through the Sahara Desert across the Mediterranean Sea in pursuit of a better life.
This is Nollywood
Franco Sacchi (Nigeria) - 54min
The film is about the Nigerian film industry, a completely homegrown industry that produces over 1,000 movies a year enabling African filmmakers with few resources to tell their stories to African audiences. Until recently little known outside its own country, the film explains why it is becoming recognized as a phenomenon with broad implications for the cultural and economic development of Africa.
To Bare Fruits
Sarah Levitt (Ghana, Israel) - 26min
The Movie talks about an emotional journey of the filmmaker to her roots; Ghana in West Africa. It is told in a very subjective way, through the filmmakers eye, with no real plot or drama developing, more of an observing eye on what was happening around.
Jesse James Miller, Pete McCormack (Uganda, Canada) - 82min
Narrated by Academy Award Winner: Kevin Spacey For two decades, the Acholi people of Northern Uganda have been caught in a civil war between a rebel group and a government force. The film chronicles the 20-year civil war raging in Northern Uganda between the Ugandan Government and the Lord's Resistance Army. This film is the story of Uganda, her stolen children, and the fight to be free.
Steve Dorst (Cameroon, USA) - 53min
The sleepy town in Buea in the Southwest Province of Cameroon hosts Africas most grueling footrace: the Mt. Cameroon Race of Hope, a marathon-length sprint 10,000 feet up a live volcanoand back down again. To conquer the mountain, racers must overcome some of the cruelest conditions in sport: temperatures fluctuate 50 degrees, altitude sickness claims the weak, and loose volcanic stones can cause serious injuryand even deathas runners fly back down the mountain.
Zanzibar Soccer Queens
Florence Ayisi (Tanzania, United Kingdom) - 87min
Women's passion for soccer transcends gender boundaries and challenges the expected image of African women. The film presents a provocative and timely portrait of women fighters, a team of predominantly Muslim women determined to better their lives and define new identities through playing soccer.